Simplicy at its finest: Penne with Tomato Sauce, Two Ways


Sorry for being gone for so long:  I had the distinct pleasure of contracting the plague of our times, the H1N1 flu.  Also known as the swine flu, developed by our porcine friends as a result of being stuffed chuck full of antibiotics in order to survive the horrible conditions of their death row incarceration.  But I digress.  I’m all better and back in the kitchen!

However, getting back in the cooking saddle isn’t that easy when you have all this work to catch up on.  But sometimes, simple dishes really hit the spot.  The other night, we were just craving pasta with plain ol’ tomato sauce.  I know how to make sauce, but the sake of this projected, I decided to drag out Mark’s book and see how he does it. Sometimes, even old trusted staples need a little pick-me-up.

Mark’s Fast Tomato Sauce (p. 445) contains nothing more than olive oil, onions, canned tomatoes, salt and pepper.  I’m a slightly more complicated girl.  First of all, I have to have garlic.  In fact, I will throw in any aromatic vegetable I have in the house, which that day happened to includes carrots and shallots.


I poured the oil into a big skillet, sauteed all my chopped vegetables and then added the tomatoes.  Covered, it simmened for about 15 minutes while I cooked the pasta.  Once the pasta was a minute away from being done, I drained it, dumped it in the still simmering sauce, cooked for another minute and dinner was served.

However, we could not eat a whole pound of pasta with sauce between the two of us (I mean, we could, if we tried, but we weren’t super hungry that night).  And I had some fresh mozzarella hanging around in the fridge.  So the next night, I mixed the leftover pasta with about half a ball of grated cheese, grated more cheese on top and baked it.  Basically, it was Mark’s Baked Ziti (p. 458).  Two easy dinner, probably $10 worth of ingredients.  Who says we aren’t thrifty over here in Gone Veg land?!



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