Sunday, October 29, 2006

Scaring up a meal

Every home cook has faced this problem before.

It's Sunday, you're too lazy to go shopping, you need a tasty but simple meal that you need to scare up before the evening is over but the larder is bare (or as bare as the CC's larder ever gets.)

What was at hand?

5 tomatoes (from the farmer's market.)
onions and garlic (staples at the CC's.)
the usual arsenal of dried ingredients and spices
the usual arsenal of frozen stock, and pastes in the freezer.
a quarter-chunk of parmigiano-reggiano (a miracle!)

All this inevitably pointed towards pasta, and out came Marcella Hazan. Jump to the section on tomato sauces, a little poking around, and what do you find?

Tomato Sauce with Porcini Mushrooms

A slight modification was made (no pancetta) but it was relatively insignificant.


1 small onion (finely diced)
1 tbsp olive oil
5 large tomatoes (skins removed, passed through food mill.)
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms (+ filtered water from mushrooms)
black pepper
freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano


Reconstitute the mushrooms.

Fry the onions (or shallots) till it becomes a pale gold. Add the tomatoes, the mushrooms, the strained liquid from the mushrooms, salt, and several grindings of pepper. Adjust heat so that the sauce bubbles at a gentle but steady simmer. Cook in the pan for 40 minutes (yes! this is correct) till the fat and the tomato separate. Skim.

Toss in the pasta, and serve with freshy grated parmigiano-reggiano.

Note: This sauce is surprisingly "rich" (not in the traditional high-fat sense.) It could easily pass as a meat sauce even though it's totally vegetarian.

Marcella Hazan has been beatified, while Julia Child can cry herself to sleep on the bookshelf!


naper271 said...

you are not inventing these, are you? you should. I haven't cooked a decent meal in 3+ years... I got rid of my spice rack. shame shame

ShockingSchadenfreude said...

What do you mean by "invent"?

No good meals in 3+ years?!?

You need to come to New York!

naper271 said...

good meals sometimes, but not made by me. ;-)