Thursday, December 18, 2008

When you are engulfed in flames, or Whoops, I put too many red pepper flakes in my Arrabbiata sauce

Meal: Arrabbiata Sauce over linguine, served with a Trader Joe's cesar salad
Scene of the crime: my kitchen
Partners in crime: my sister in law, my son
Listening to: Christmas Lounge on

Oh...did you enjoy the David Sedaris reference?

The best thing about not cooking for the first 39 years of my life is that I never take being able to cook for granted. Just 15 months ago I would never have dreamed of inviting someone over and just "whipping something up"...I might have invited someone over to order pizza with me, but never would I have offered to cook for them. Fast forward to this, me, inviting my sister in law over for dinner, and not only cooking for her, but cooking for her after - gasp - working all day! And having nothing in my kitchen! This is new territory for me, and I love it.

I find it helpful to have a go-to recipe for when I don't feel like shopping. Something I can make, ideally, from items I already have on my shelves. Seriously, I had every ingredient for this recipe in my cupboard, except for the flat-leaf parsley garnish, which I never would have used anyway.

I freehanded the red pepper flakes, apparently adding much more than the 1 and 1/4 tsp. the recipe called for, and my mouth was en fuego. I also was a bit lazy and didn't chop the canned tomatoes - I just added them whole - and the texture and consistency of whole, canned tomatoes "weirds out" my son. Still, it was delicious, and my sister in law even took some home with her to eat tomorrow. Makes me beam with culinary pride.

From The Gourmet Cookbook, Arrabbiata Sauce, which I served over linguine.

3 T olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 and 1/4 t red pepper flakes (I may actually measure this one out next time)
2 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes in juice, drained and chopped (save the juice)
1 and 1/4 t salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil or flat leaf parsley (again, a garnish I was too lazy to add)

Heat oil in a 5-6 quart pot over moderately high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, with their juice, and salt, bring to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 35-40 minutes. Stir in basil (or parsley).

Note - sauce can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to two months, or refrigerated for up to a week.


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