Sunday, January 23, 2011

Marcella Hazan's pasta sauce

Just learned that Mark Bittman's NYT column, the Minimalist, has been cancelled. He'll be moving on to write about food policy... he was already moving in that direction. Frankly, I should probably move in that direction, too. Food is Serious Business and Agrobusiness is a Big Problem and we should all Inform Ourselves. But I just want to maintain that there is something PLAYFUL about food, something that is fun and easy and sincere. I think about authenticity a lot-- both in terms of our sarcastic generation & queer performance-- and as much as I sneer when idiots start talking about how much they love HONEST food, I get it. Mark Bittman cooked "real" food and taught me how to cook it and love it. From crackers to cake, something about the Minimalist just said: "you can do it. just cook it from scratch." And "from scratch", my friends, has been the most meaningful activity in my life for the past five or so years. So goodbye, the Minimalist, and thanks for everything.

If I haven't made you watch this yet, please do.

Anyway. Speaking of "from scratch", there is no reason to buy jarred pasta sauce when you can make one that is this amazing! AMAZING. And easy. And honest. Don't feel bad about using canned tomatoes, even NPR says its ok.

+ An onion, peeled and cut in half BUT NOT DICED.
+ 1 28 oz can of nice tomatoes (Trader Joe's, San Marzanos, whatever). I cut mine up a little first but you could crush them with a spoon while they're cooking so whatever. Just don't lose the seeds because they are MAD UMAMI.
+ Half a stick of butter (Yeah, I mean, duh. I said AMAZING right? Well. There you go.)

--Put the ingredients in a pan and let it simmer for as long as you can stand it. 45 minutes?

Discard the onion. Toss it in a blender, if you are like, only interested in foods that bear no resemblance to things that grow in the ground. Proud, Bittman? See? I am "politically engaged." True confession though, one time I pureed this sauce because I missed the corporate consistancy of fake pasta sauce. So. Anyway, that's it! You're done! Turns out all it takes to make "honest food" is butter and patience.

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