Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pack-Rat Mentality - Spaghetti with Rustic Tomato Sauce and Basil

Several times in the past few weeks I have been admonished for my overly-sentimental pack rat mentality. At issue was the coffee pot I inherited when my parents moved out of the house I grew up in. 20+ years to it's credit, and still, it lives! Often, acting as my alarm clock for those early mornings after particularly late evening adventures. Also accused was the Georgetown sweatshirt, stolen from an unsuspecting siblings closet, circa 1988 (and she never noticed!) The one that is especially comfortable on camping trips.

Beth had a particularly keen eye during her visit, wandering through my apartment and pointing out what had been transplanted from our house in college. Lauren added to the embarrassment by highlighting the items she recognized from 23 years of friendship. I say, to me, that coffee pot is better than all the other coffee pots in the world. Not as fancy, but certainly trusty and dependable. It reminds me of what the fox says to The Little Prince before he asks to be tamed.

I cannot bear to throw things out. In the ability to edit down my life, I fall distinctly short.

But is that really such a great fault? In the end, my coffee pot produces a perfectly robust cup of coffee in the morning. That sweatshirt is particularly soft (and can double as a pillow when camping to boot) and the dog-eared, aging yellow pages of cookbooks, post-it notes and old envelopes that hold recipes I've collected for years on end are finally finding their ways into the digital age via this blog.

So it's a good thing I saved them all.

I can't remember where this one came from. I found it on the back of the envelope from an old phone bill from 2002. It fell out of an old copy of East of Eden. Scrawled out hurriedly in my handwriting and used as a bookmark, no doubt. A classic quick tomato sauce. Perfect for a Monday night. Throw it out? No! I'd much rather share.

Spaghetti with Rustic Tomato Sauce and Basil
serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 sweet yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper (about 5 turns of the pepper mill)
1 zucchini, cut into half moons
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
8 ounces spaghetti
4 tbsp roasted pine nuts
1 tbsp pecorino romano cheese

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the shallots, onion and garlic. Saute for about two minutes. Add the red wine and stir. Next, add the tomatoes, oregano and black pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the zucchinni towards the last two minutes of simmering. Remove from heat and add the basil, stir to combine.

Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and top with the sauce, nuts and cheese. Serve immediately.

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