Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Great Eats: Fresh Herb Overload; a Pasta Sauce

Despite appearances, I don't eat Thai every night. There are days when I don't want my sinuses cleaned with chili, when I don't want to add another root vegetable to my palate. And as much as I enjoy curries of every color, sauerkraut remains a separate food group. Also, there are days when all I want is to sit back, throw some ingredients together and get back to a book, or a drawing, or some dumb online distraction.

Pasta is perfect for those days. My sauces are lazy, half-assed, a perfect thing to let sit and bubble away while I work on another illustration. The trouble is in getting a right mixture of flavors without overcrowding the best part - the pasta. In this, I don't always succeed, but this time I decided to take on a more academic approach to the sauce.

Simple but refined, it relies on the pungent flavors of fresh herbs that add so much life to any dish.
To make this you will need:

3 14 oz cans of tomatoes - I use the No-Salt-Added varieties primarily, as I prefer to add my salt, however for this I used 1 can of "Fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic," which was quite tasty. But, use whatever's on hand!

2 fresh bay leaves
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, thyme, sage - adjust quantity to taste, but don't fear adding a lot.
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 tbs olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste - I prefer sea salt

All you need is to add the tomatoes to a sauce pan, and heat. Bring to near boil, add ingredients and lower heat. Let it cook until tomatoes begin to loose shape and a pretty oily sheen forms across the surface - 40 or so minutes is plenty. If sauce gets too thick, add up to 1/2 cup of water. Taste continuously and adjust for flavor. If something is lacking, add more salt first.

I made this with orzo, which is the best thing. Ever.

3/4 c orzo
1 1/2 cup water
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Boil until soft - stir to keep from sticking and don't let boil too hard - a soft boil is best.

And that's it! Grab a book, a blanket and enjoy!

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