Another case of burly pasta ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

01 August 2008

Another case of burly pasta

I seem to either make pasta with only oil and garlic, or with a gargantuan sauce full of everything the refrigerator can throw at it. When I organize all this business into a book there's definitely going to be a section on burly pasta.

Here's one:

Pasta of ultimate burl part III: the reckoning

olive oil
artichoke hearts
red pepper
tomato puree/chunks/whatever
water/broth/dry vermouth
salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, basil
pasta (linguine)

Smash and peel a bunch of garlic, maybe six or eight cloves. Chop them up and throw them in a wide saute pan with some olive oil, stirring to get the oil distributed. Chop up a red pepper and add it as well, then let the business cook together slowly for maybe five minutes, or until it's softened. Then open, drain, and add a can of unmarinated artichoke hearts. I guess you can use the marinated kind if you really want; they would certainly be a stronger flavor here. You could also use frozen artichoke hearts if you have them. I don't think I've ever had frozen artichoke hearts, but it would be fine: just let them cook a little longer to get everything not just defrosted but actually cooking.

Let things cook together while you find the next ingredient, which in this case is chickpeas. Drain and add a can of chickpeas, or throw in a cup or two of frozen cooked chickpeas. You may need to add a little water here so nothing burns.

Stir the business up, letting anything that needs defrosting defrost, while you find the next thing: tomato puree. Add as much tomato as you want to the pan; I used half a 24-oz can. Probably you'd need more if you were using reducible tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, plus some basil, oregano, and paprika or even cayenne. I only used a little of each, since things like artichoke hearts and red pepper have a fairly strong taste already. Add some tvp as well; I used probably 2/3 cup. Stir the business up, adding maybe a cup of water for a thinner consistency, and let everything cook together for at least ten minutes.

At this point, if you haven't cooked the pasta already, start it. The sauce can pretty much burble on indefinitely, as long as you add some extra water to evaporate off and keep things from burning. I used linguine, since that's what we had, but short, chunky pasta would be better.

When everything is done, drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce.

At this point you can sit down and eat, or you can add cheese, then sit down and eat. We had all kinds of cheese hanging around, all of which seemed like good choices. So I made three little test batches before I decided which one to use.

Pecorino romano: This is my favorite individual cheese of the three, but its strong flavor overpowered the already strong artichoke hearts and garlic. Since I wanted to taste the sauce, I didn't use it. Save it for an aglio e olio, or do the thing where you grate it finely and roll black olives in it.

French feta: This mix turned the sauce creamier, thicker, and more pungent. Had it been a milder feta I think I would've really liked this mix, but it had aged too much and gotten too pungent for me. I really just need to figure out where to buy smaller amounts of feta.

Parmesan: As long as you use actual quality parmesan you grate off the block, parmesan definitely wins.

Put it in a bowl and eat it.


Anonymous said...

I just finished dinner, but those photos made me hungry all over again. Looks delicious, Eileen!

eileen said...

thank you! :)