Monday, September 17, 2007

Pasta and Sauce

SP had some work to do today so we decided to put off grocery shopping until tomorrow. That meant we needed to come up with something for dinner using things we already had on hand. We got a few last of the summer tomatoes from my parents so he decided to whip up a quick sauce, which we had over thin spaghetti:


We will never understand why people use jarred sauce when making your own is so simple and tastes so much better. Even making the sauce from fresh tomatoes took less than an hour and the taste was sensational.

I made a quick salad using lettuce, cucumber, shallots and tomato from the veggie box:


...as well as some pimento-stuffed olives I found in the fridge. The olives added a salty bite that went really well with the simple red wine vinegar dressing I threw together.

SP was cleaning out the pantry today and he found a package of ready-mix bread we got from someone for Christmas. It was roasted garlic and olive-flavored:


... and while it tasted fine, I only had half a piece because it just wasn't worth the stomach space.
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16 comments:

  1. Funny, I am tying this to the jarred gravy and a commercial I heard for an assisted living place on my way home last night. People just have their own interests. and we have to accept that. Jarred pasta sauce and jarred gravy, to me seems kind of similar to my perspective on building my own furniture. Most people think I'm crazy, but I get what I want doing it that way. It's also fun (both cooking and furniture building) but not everyone thinks so. The lady on th assisted living commercial said "I couldn't care if I cooked another meal again" and that's what made it click for me. I knew this all along and have felt this way for a long time, but every now and then need a reminder.

    Personally I love Ragu Traditional pasta sauce from the jar, and use it a lot, but I can also make a mean-ass pasta sauce from scratch that would make an old Italian grandmother weep (well maybe not but you know what I mean) and do it in no time at all. So, with that said we all like what we like, and yes I do like jarred gravy too...if I go somewhere like Piccadilly Cafeteria or The Golden Corral.

    You're (and I'm) just going to have to accept the fact that some people don't like to cook :(

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  2. longhair - I hear what you're saying. I've come across a lot of people in my life who have no interest whatsoever in cooking but will spends hours tending to a garden. Me, I'm not a gardener but we all do what makes us happy.

    I actually mentioned my opinion about jarred sauce on a cooking forum I visit and was surprised by how many people vehemently disagreed with me.

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  3. I can do either. I tend to use jarred on two occasions - one is when I make my (AWESOME heheh) baked ziti. it's just easier and honestly? the brand and flavor I use taste awesome in that particular recipe.

    I also put half a jar in a small container with those homemade meatballs I give steve for sub sandwich lunch. again, it's just a time saver.

    I do like cooking my own, and I love getting to experiment with different flavors (all of which have turned out great) but I'm not adamant about it.

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  4. Well, it's not that I disagree about the jarred sauce, although I do like Prego. It's just that I don't have a full hour or more to prepare supper most nights. I've made some fabulous homemade sauces before, but hm, that took 2 hours vs 2 seconds to open the Prego jar :)

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  5. btw, thanks for listing me on your blog. I need to add a list like that to my blog. Since returning to work, I haven't had as much time to blog, and boy has traffic dropped off! I'm going to try to get back to blogging at least every other day and hopefully get some more visitors over there!

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  6. alosha - See...you need to start that food blog! Then you could share your awesome baked ziti recipe with us. :)

    JoJo - This sauce took about an hour because he made it with fresh tomatoes instead of canned and needed to peel them, remove the seeds and cook them down for a longer period of time. I've made sauce that took 15 minutes to pull together because I used canned tomatoes.

    I totally understand the convenience factor of jarred sauce, especially if time to make dinner is minimal.

    No problem! It's great to have other blogs listed on your blog. A lot of people have found me through the blogs I'm listed on and vice versa.

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  7. You know, I often like to just use the skins and seeds. It gives it a real rustic flavor, look, and texture, which I am tending towards lately. Basically I am good with cooking down whole tomatoes with a little white wine, olive oil, garlic (that I grow myself of course) and maybe come choice herbs and spices, and maybe a little pasta water to loosen it a bit if it needs it (usually not though). It makes a really light sauce, which again, I'm into lately -AND- it only takes about 15 minutes to cook :)

    So, with that said, by the time the pasta water comes to a boil, you cook and drain the pasta, the fresh sauce is done. Sure this is easy, but sometimes I just need good ol' Ragu :)

    Were those people on the forum against the use of jarred sauces...if so then I have a few choice words for them :)

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  8. longhair - I have a serious aversion to cooked tomatoes with the skins on. In fact, I hate cooked pepper skins as well - I don't like the texture of it in my mouth. But you're right...in the time it takes to boil water and then cook the pasta you can make a fresh sauce.

    And besides, I just don't like to use processed food if I can help it. I've never looked at the ingredient list of a jar of Ragu but I'm sure there's stuff in there that isn't in my homemade sauce. :)

    Actually, most of the people either prefered to use jarred sauce or at least had an emergency jar in their pantry.

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  9. I guess I have words for you then :)

    Let's fite!

    P.S. I don't like cooked pepper skins either, mainly because they're thicker than tomato which I have no problem consuming at all.

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  10. homecook - I really do think I may start one. I just need to wait until after my move next weekend. once I am in that new kitchen (with my first gas stove!!) and enjoying cooking again, I think I am going to give it a shot. it's really where my primary interest/love is. hell, recipes, food blogs, reviews, etc. take up half my links.

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  11. You know my stance on this...

    My Italian grandmother would rise from the dead, hop on the first flight from NJ to Seattle, hunt me down and then beat the piss out of me if I ever dared to use jarred gravy.

    I will never use a product that puts corn syrup in their gravy. NOT THE PLACE FOR SUGARY GOODNESS!

    There is a reason why Tony Soprano called Dr. Cusamano a "wonder bread wop"...look it up and you'll know what I mean. :)

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  12. alosha - Oooh...a gas stove! That's going to be great for you. I can't imagine cooking on an electric stove; I'd have serious trouble adjusting the temp. I can't wait to read about your cooking adventures! :)

    C Laz - Exactly! Not that I'm Italian but I feel the same way. :)

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  13. Longhairman -- I make my own sauce, too, but when I am in a pinch, I use Ragu as well. The reason is that it most closely resembles the sauce that we grew up with... The very plain "tomato gravy." My problem is that I use pasta sauce several times a week, and while I enjoy making gravy from scratch, I could no more make ALL my own pasta sauce than I could sew all my own clothes. Though I'm committed to making my own (of both) as often as possible... I have to be realistic.

    I can't wait to get into a house, because I think additional freezer space will really help. When I get fresh tomatoes (and I plan on growing my own), I can then make up huge batches of it. :)

    I also wanted to say that the lovely blanket of parmesan in the photo really made me slobber.

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  14. I would also add that Tony Soprano wouldn't be my personal source for what a "real" Italian ought to do! :P

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  15. Tony Soprano...real Italians, ha! The recipes for Italian style tomato based sauces are as varied the Chinese have for their styles of cooking. Fortunately, being a proud American of Polish descent, I don't have to worry about any Italian grandmothers beating me. So I guess what I am saying is, is that I have had sauces from Tonys, Marios, Genos and Guiseppes and all of them make their sauce completely different. Loose and light, sweet (yes they use different forms of sugar...different people different sugars, cane...corn...carrots), salty, savory, etc.

    So, again, not having to worry about a grandmother beating me (except for maybe one of y'alls) I have the fortune of being able to like a lot of different sauces, even Ragu. Which, actually, IMHO, being so plain is sometimes a great base to build a sauce from. You have to admit...you can't always get a bushel of tomatoes, or have one on hand, and have to make do with what you've got or what's available.

    Fortunately for me my grandmother liked frozen pirogies :)

    Sorry about your luck C Laz ;)

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  16. Hey hey hey, Tony knows good cooking...I would salivate at some of the things Carmella would make in the show! :)

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Thanks for commenting!