I love to cook, but I hate having to decide what to cook, so I usually make meals based on whatever I happen to have around that needs to be used, or whatever looks good at theÂ fruttivendoloÂ (greengrocer), butcher, supermarket, etc. that day.
Last night I hadn’t done much shopping, but had on hand:
- one sweet red bell pepper, getting a little wrinkly
- some vine-ripened plum tomatoes, a gift from my mother-in-law’s neighbor in Abruzzo, brought up when she came to visit last week
- lots of red onions (almost always to be found in my fridge – I rarely use any other kind, except green ones in Asian cooking and salads)
So… let’s make a meal.
I diced up the pepper and some onion and garlic, put all that to sautÃ© in some peppered olive oil (home-made – just add red pepper flakes and/or whole red hot peppers to a jar of good oil). I scalded the tomatoes, cooled them, slipped off the skins, diced them (removing some of the seeds, though there aren’t many in this type), and added those to the pot. A few grinds of mixed peppercorns, half a teaspoon of vegetable broth granules, and a cup or so of red wine (what was left in one of the open bottles).
I let this cook over a low flame for half an hour or so, going in to stir occasionally while I was doing other things at the computer. On impulse, I added a handful of raisins to the sauce, and later about two tablespoons of butter, to reduce the acidity and give the sauce more body.
When Ross got back from riding, I put on the water for pasta. Since this was a fairly wet sauce, I usedÂ spaghetti alla chitarra all’uovoÂ fromÂ deCecco – egg pasta soaks up a lot of juice.
Cook, drain, and shake out the pasta, throw it it in a bowl and mix it with the sauce. I grated some aged ricotta into my dish (Ross doesn’t like most cheese, and was happy without it), which went well and added protein to the meal. Ross had the remains of a smallÂ salame. We mopped our plates with bread.
Today I bought eggplant and green beans. Hmm. What shall I do with those?