As usual, I had the back door open this afternoon. However, I failed to take into account that it was 10-15 degrees colder today than it has been. By the time I closed up, I was thoroughly chilled. I knew I was going to have to have something warm and wonderful to eat.
Now here's the deal: You are not allowed to turn up your nose when you hear what it is. Instead you have to let me explain. THEN, if it sounds yucko to you, so be it.
I am chowing down on pasta with peas. I know what you're picturing. You see a plate full of spaghetti noodles, overburdened with red sauce and some peas dumped on top. No! See that is just NOT what it is. Think more along the lines of an Italian soup.
You start with two saucepans. In the first saucepan, you add some olive oil. You want to cover the bottom of the pan, but don't cover it an inch deep! Just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. But, don't be too skimpy with it--the olive oil adds another layer of flavor to this soup. To that add some garlic in some form. Sometimes I use fresh garlic. Sometimes I use garlic powder. It mostly hangs on what I have in the house. Tonight I had garlic powder. Now, pay attention. BEFORE you turn the heat on under saucepan #1, open your can of peas. Now you can turn that heat on. (You have to be so careful with garlic. Burnt or heavily browned garlic is just bitter and nasty.) Watch the garlic carefully and as soon as it is cooked, dump that can of peas in there to stop it from burning.
Note: before adding the garlic, some folks would add chopped onion or onion rings and brown them in the olive oil. I've never really felt that was necessary, but you might like it. Just remember to cook the onions FIRST before you add the garlic. Otherwise, you'll have burnt garlic for sure..........
At this point, the danger of burnt garlic having passed, I'd fill the other saucepan with water, throw in some salt, and throw in some pasta. I use macaroni because that is one form of pasta I always have in the house. You could also use small shells or even broken up pieces of spaghetti. I would not use a heavier pasta like mostaccioli or penne rigate or....... well, you get the idea. And, no, I don't wait til the water boils to add the pasta. Start Saucepan #2 cooking. You are going to boil that water and cook that pasta just like you normally would. You should probably undercook it just a touch.
Now back to saucepan #1. You want to add some tomato. I have bought canned whole tomatoes and chopped a few and frozen the rest. I have even gotten desperate and used a bit of red sauce. Tonight I opened a can of "organic tomato soup". It happened to be in the house so it's what I used. This is NOT Campbells tomato soup with milk solids and thickeners. Stewed tomatoes are good or diced or chopped tomatoes. You could even get the chopped tomatoes that have basil in them. I added about 5 tablespoons full of tomatoes to saucepan #1. I'll freeze the remainder of the tomatoes for my next batch of this stuff! You are NOT making a tomato based sauce. You are just adding enough tomatoes to give color and a bit of flavor to what's in the saucepan. Stir and let it get good and hot, then turn it down to just keep warm.
Meanwhile, back to saucepan #2. It's probably time to check that pasta. You are going to put that cooked macaroni/pasta into more hot liquid. It will soak up more "juice". Don't allow it to overcook. When you think it's cooked almost long enough, drain most of the water. The salt in the pasta cooking water is what will salt your "soup". I would say you want to leave between 1/2 cup and 1 cup in the saucepan with your pasta. Now, dump Saucepan #1 into Saucepan #2. Let it get good and hot again and serve. For sure, garnish with lots of yummy Parmesan. This goes great with some crusty Italian bread and butter too.
It's not fancy. If you don't come from an Italian family, you have probably never heard of it. And, I think it's Sicilian as opposed to the fancier, richer food found in the Northern part of Italy. It's just simple peasant food, but when you're chilled to the bone, it's warm and hearty enough to help and it's very quick to prepare. Probably, if you look hard enough, you might find a vitamin or two in there.
During college I dated an Italian guy. (Later, I made the mistake of marrying him, but that's a whole 'nother story.) The first time he took me home to meet Mama, she asked him what he'd like to eat while he was home. His answer: "spaghetti with peas". See, this is how I know what you were picturing in your mind when I told you I was eating pasta with peas--I had the exact same picture! Mama was greatly embarrassed that he would ask for something so simple, just plain old peasant food. I guess she thought he should have asked for Baked Alaska or pheasant under glass or something. But, she made it, he was happy, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I've been making it ever since. I hope you'll try it and that you'll enjoy it as much as I have. The original "Mama" is gone now, so, on nights like tonight, my kitchen has inherited the name "Mama Cammarata's kitchen". I owe her a lot because it was she who taught me to cook.
Well, I still have about 6 hours to go til I count my day over, but I've done pretty well so far today. I now have 5 full bookshelves. And several more empty boxes. The New Year's kit is pretty well finished. I'll be down to adding doodads and extras and word art when I go back to it later this evening. I've also uploaded this coming week's kit for the CT and I've been running backups in the background. I discovered I'd totally spaced backing up one file last time through! Not good. I'll have to be more careful this time around. Anyway, progress is being made. I also grabbed a nap for about 1.5 hours to make up for the time I spent out here between 3 AM and 4:30AM.
Now, I think I'm going to get seconds on the soup and then jump back in to design and moving books.