Monday, October 24, 2011

ten-minute marinara

Just as Master J's Bari-bought pumpkin gnocchi went into the water tonight, I realized we only had puttanesca, which would be revolting, so I had to scramble. Ten minutes later we had this. Surprisingly good for something pulled out of thin air.

Having generally relied on restaurants or jars for my red sauce needs, I know nothing about the real way to make Italian sauces. But I'd always been under the impression it was supposed to involve at least one person who had little choice in the matter, due to gender, state of imprisonment, or physical handicap, sitting there stirring all day long. But perhaps Scorsese movies provide an incomplete view of Italian cuisine. Since it relies on new world fruits and Portuguese wine and was prepared by an Irish, I have no cause to act like this sauce is remotely Italian anyway. It's just a nice and quick and red sauce that pleases somewhat finicky children and their parents too.

(makes about a quart)
a small onion, finely diced
some garlic, coarsely chopped
two 14 oz cans of some kind of tomatoes, plain as can be
madeira wine
olive oil
s&p
red pepper flakes
dried oregano

In something powerful, puree the tomatoes along with another half cup or so of water. Heat several tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and cook until clear, then throw in the garlic, salting and peppering as you go. When you can smell the garlic, add some pepper flakes and oregano, whatever seems right to you. I went lighter on both in deference to the toddlish palate. Once the oregano is pungent after about a minute, half a cup or so of madeira or port or another wine along those lines. (Don't worry, you're going to cook off the alcohol, but I suppose this ingredient could be optional.) Reduce by half, then add the tomato puree. Keep it moving. Season it. Cook it down for a few minutes, things brighten up, and Bob's your uncle.