Count Broccula's veg-head ramblings

My home experiments with vegetarian cooking. Focused on seasonal produce with some vegan stuff thrown in for good measure. I may include random other food-related stuff as I please.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Rustic-ass pasta sauce

An internet acquaintance just e-interviewed me about organic eating and eating on a budget. Although I already sent my answers off, this meal qualifies nicely.

1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
4 medium tomatoes, very roughly chopped
3 Tbs red wine (I used Barbera, but it doesn't matter)
~20 assorted olives, pitted and halved
1/4 tsp marjoram
1 tsp dried red chili flakes
large pinch sea salt
1 tsp minced fresh stevia, or sugar to taste
~20 cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup loosely packed basil
crumbled feta to taste

whole wheat pasta, any shape (I used spaghetti), cooked according to package directions.

I heated the oil over medium heat, then threw in the onion and stirred it around until it was brown, about 5 minutes. I then added the garlic and cooked for about one more minute. Then I added the chopped tomatoes and wine (reserve the cherry tomatoes) and brought it to a low boil, then turned it down to medium-low.

While I simmered it, I pitted the olives* and threw them in. I also added the marjoram, chili flakes, salt and stevia, and gave it all a good stir. I then put the pasta water on to boil. When it boiled, I put the pasta on and set the timer. At the same time, I dumped in the cherry tomatoes. When five minutes were remaining on the pasta, I tore the basil into big chunks and stirred them in as well.

When the pasta was done, I drained it and added it into the sauce. I then crumbled the feta on top and served it.

It was very tasty, and would have been good with some bread to sop up the extra. I did have a reason for putting the cherry tomatoes in so late, by the way. I just love them when they're hot, but still whole, and they kind of explode when you bite into them. I didn't want them to simmer down to mush with the chopped tomatoes. I wanted the different textures.

Anyway, this meal was so cheap and mostly organic because the pasta was $8 at Costco for 8 packages, and I only used half a package. Making it, yes, 50 cents for dinner for three. The tomatoes were all from the garden. We keep Trader Joe's mediterranean olive blend on hand for snacks, so although they cost a few bucks, it wasn't as though I bought them just for this. And the feta was on hand as well, since we use feta frequently. The tomatoes aren't strictly organic, but we've never used pesticides, so they're pretty darn good. The pasta actually was organic and whole wheat. Costco -- who knew?

*I bought a cherry pitter this spring thinking I could use it on olives, too. I can't. The small ones are too small and the big ones are too big, and even the medium ones end up losing a lot of olive meat in the process, so it's really not worth it. I just smash them with the flat side of a knife, then tear out the pit with my fingernails. Add the pitter to the list of kitchen gadgets that aren't really worth the drawer space, like a garlic press (grate cloves on the tines of a fork), egg separator (your fingers are the best egg separator around), and lemon reamer (a fork works fine).

1 Comments:

Blogger blissisthis said...

Hey Kara -- This sounds amazing! Sometime I'd love to hit you up for some tomato canning tips!

September 12, 2010 at 6:42:00 PM PDT  

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