After Friday’s nights failure, I figured I should prove I’m not completely incapable of making kid-friendly food. So Parker happens to share my love for pretty much whatever pasta I throw at him. (Or rather, that he throws at me.) I figure pasta with red sauce is pretty fool proof as far as kids go. So tonight’s dinner was Nigella Lawson’s Rigatoni (Penne) al Pomodoro e Prezzemolo. Delicious and done in the time it takes to boil the pasta.
First and foremost I put the water on to boil. Into a pan went six tablespoons of olive oil and a few bruised garlic cloves over medium low heat; the recipe specifies that you thinly slice them. I, however, thought that when I normally make this I just lightly crush a few cloves, so that’s what I did. After a few minutes in the warm oil the garlic had begun to take slight color, and my water was at a boil. I salted the water and added the remnants of two boxes (what I thought was about half a pound) of penne I had kicking around the pantry. To the garlic-y oil I added a 15 oz. can of tomatoes. (Sidenote: Nigella specifies a 14 oz. can of tomatoes for a pound of pasta. I find this to be too dry for my taste. Generally speaking I use a 28 oz. can if I am making a full pound of pasta, regardless of the recipe.) I thought they were diced tomatoes, but I apparently can’t read. I was slightly surprised to dump the can out and see this.
So I said to myself “Dur dur Meleyna nice one,” and used the back of a fork to crush them up. Crisis averted. I added a quarter can of water to the sauce, salt and pepper, and turned up the heat to medium high. Though not exactly clear, the recipe says to let the sauce reduce for ten minutes, which to me means leave it uncovered. Which would result in tomato sauce all over my kitchen. Because I am already guaranteed to clean up what looks essentially like a massacre after Parker finishes eating, this to me doesn’t sound like too great of an idea. So I cover the pan with one of those mesh splatter screen things that you use for frying. Keeps the mess to a minimum while allowing your sauce to reduce “until it becomes quite lumpy and oily.” Loverly. So the sauce reduced and the pasta cooked and things were working out just peachy. The beautiful thing about this dish is that the sauce takes pretty much exactly the amount of time it take to boil your pasta. As soon as I turned the burner off for the sauce I drained the pasta and tossed it all together in the pan.
The kiddy serving got tossed with frozen peas to cool it down. Mine was eaten straight out of the pan. Verdict? Well, take a look.
Thoroughly enjoyed by Parker, as it always is. As for me? Definitely should have minced the garlic–the flavor wasn’t strong enough for me. I also think I ended up cooking more than the intended half pound of pasta, as I thought it was a touch too dry. Overall not bad, just not as good as it normally is. Parker had seconds, even after he finished his dessert of diced Bartlett pears.
And for once, I actually packed up the leftovers. Hooray self control.