Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Almost like a recipe for ... Italian stir-in pasta sauce. [I know. Me. A Recipe. It'll be baking* next]. *It won't.


Here's something I never thought I'd be sharing here: a recipe.

Well ... almost ...
A recipe for pasta sauce, by someone who doesn't write recipes.
A food writer would start this recipe by stating that it is “perfect for using up that glut or organic home-grown tomatoes we all have at this time of year”. But I’m not a food writer.

I’m not even an amateur recipe writer [although, trust me, by the end of this recipe the word ‘amateur’ will be at the forefront of your mind …]

Tomato plant. Recipe.
While it’s true that I did create this dish as a means to use up an excess of tomatoes from my droopy rusting plants what I’m more likely to tell you is that it’s “the kind of one pot, chuck it all in and, very nearly entirely, forget about it” kind of tomato sauce you can make in advance, while the kitchen’s already a mess because you’re cooking something else. [I was cooking steak and chips at the time but you should feel free to choose an alternative.]

In fact, it’s so easy to make it’s the kind of recipe anyone who doesn’t like following recipes might actually be happy to follow. 

After all, it’s already the kind of recipe that someone who’s never written a recipe before might actually write.


So let's get started with my Italian stir-in style pasta sauce ...


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Serves 2. 
[Mainly because there are two of us at home to eat it. If you are mid an exceptional carb-craving episode and end up keeping it all for yourself, I won’t judge.]

Ingredients:
  • Large homegrown tomatoes.
  • Or any tomatoes you have. Any at all. And preferably those you need to get rid of in a hurry. 
  • Use the oldest, squishiest, most likely to explode, leak, and attract flies, first. 
  • I used around 10 but the amount will depend on how many you can fit in that single roasting tin you own that spends most of its life in the bottom of the oven, empty. 
  • Around 25 button mushrooms. 
  • This is only a rough estimate. You just need to fish out however many you’ve got lurking in the bottom drawer of the fridge as long as they’re not mouldy or slimy. Which I accept is a long shot.
  • Around 5 green olives. 
  • Or however many you have left over in the fridge since the last time you entertained guests. [If your guests find olives entertaining that is.] 
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, skin on.
  • Fresh oregano leaves. Chopped.
  • The amount of oregano you use will depend upon how much the person you asked to fetch some in from the garden brings back with them.
  • Top Tip: Just make do with however much oregano they deliver; this is autumn, it’s chilly out there, and while they may happily fetch you some the first time round, a second trip may be pushing it. 
  • Salt and black pepper to season.
  • Olive oil.
  • Pasta shapes of your choice. 
  • I went for fusilli, but you may prefer penne, or even novelty penguins or penises. It's all the same really. [Unless you're planning to put it in your child's school lunch box. Then you might want to lay off the penises.]

Method:

Wash and halve the tomatoes. [To be truthful I didn’t wash mine, but then I did used to eat mud as a child so, in the ingestion-of-dirt stakes, I’m really no example to live by.]

Trim away any of the core/stem.

Cram the mushrooms, olives and tomatoes, skin side down, into the baking tray, sprinkle with salt and black pepper and the chopped oregano.

[This is the baking tray I used. A food-blogger would probably have photographed it when it was clean.]

Hide the garlic cloves beneath the tomatoes. 
This is to prevent their skin burning during cooking rather than as part of some elaborate game. Do not shout ‘Coming ready or not’.

Drizzle with olive oil. [The most food-writery thing I’ve ever written.]

Roast in an oven preheated to 220* degrees for 10 minutes.  
*This is a guide only as the middle range of numbers on my oven wore off long ago and, unlike a conscientious Bake-Off contestant I never cook anything that ever really necessitates accuracy.

Basically you just need to have the temperature dial set somewhere past half way but not as far as full whack. As Delia has never said.

Reduce heat to … well … less than whatever you, or I, had it on for the first 10 minutes and cook for a further 15-20 until the tomato juice is bubbling and the kitchen begins to smell like you know what you’re doing.

Completely forget to take photos of the process because, after all, you’re not a food writer or blogger.

Turn off the heat and leave tray in the oven to continue cooking as it cools.
Optional. If you want to eat it then and there, in your pyjamas, I say go for it.

If, like me, you’ve been preparing another meal while this sauce has been roasting go and eat the other meal while watching a recorded episode of Pointless.

3 hours later, after Pointless is long over but while the smugness of getting an actual pointless answer lives-on, go to the toilet. [You may or may not have had two glasses of wine after tea. And mid-week too. Get you!]

While there, start pondering what you can make for tomorrow’s lunch then suddenly remember that you domestic-goddessed the life out of some tomatoes back when it was still daylight and that they’re still in the oven waiting for you!

Flush. [And wash your hands.]

Put the TV on pause. 

Rescue the now-cooled tray from oven and remove the skins from the roasted garlic cloves.

Cook and drain the pasta.

Blend together the cooled tomato mixture with a hand blender until smooth, but not entirely liquid. 

Stir the sauce into the pasta and put it into a bowl or storage container.

Make the person nearest to you smell just how ‘properly Italian’ it smells, then put it into the fridge ready to be reheated at lunch the following day.

My lunch, the following day. 
Lick the spoon.

Leave the pots and pans near the sink, go and un-pause the TV, put your feet up and marvel at your achievement.


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If, through a miracle or pity you give this recipe a try ... do let me know. James and I lived to tell the tale and I'll be making it again this week so ... that's some sort of recommendation. Kind of. 

If you've enjoyed this can you do me a gigantic favour and share it. Somewhere. Anywhere. I don't mind. Tell a friend using social media, or just your mouth. Either works for me. 

I'd like to make a real go of this writing thing and what's a writer without readers? [Other than 'lonely' and 'wondering what they're doing with their life'. But .. apart from that ... ]

Thanks and buon appetito!

Julie 

54 comments:

  1. Is there anything better than home grown tomatoes? Oh yes, a delicious dinner made from them. For a minute there, I thought I'd stopped by Otter farm! You've reminded me I've not shared a recipe in a long time. On my blog they tend to get the least comments (along with the card making posts) so that's probably why.

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    1. We had a pathetic harvest of tomatoes this year so have hardly had to find anything do to with them. a glut would have been a treat!

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  2. possibly the best recipe instructions ever!!

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  3. If only more recipes were written like this - laughing and imagining Italian cooking smells - fabulous

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  4. Haha this made me chuckle muchly, mainly because it's a fairly accurate description of what I did on Saturday... minus the Pointless watching and the mushrooms.

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    1. Thanks! [It's one of those 'I have some 'stuff' and I need to eat' type dishes isn't it?] :-D

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  5. Made me chuckle! I especially like that 'it's ready when the kitchen smells like you know what you are doing!' LOL!

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  6. As always I am laughing out loud after reading your post Julie. Love this style of writing a recipe - you could be on to a winner here. I'm happy to take the photos when you get your offer of a book deal!! ;)

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    1. I might take you up on that Sandie!

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  7. Ah a real recipe, not a faffy Jamie Oliver style one

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  8. You've watched me cook. I swear!!!! And get this I've stopped lurking!!! I am commenting on a blog, about food, on an actual recipe... GET ME!!! Ha ha ha. xxx

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    1. Well ... you say an *actual* recipe .. I do't know I'd go that far ... Thanks for de-lurking Michelle!

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  9. I think you make a great (and realistic) food writer! I can't imagine Delia or Mary Berry writing about penis shaped pasta (I can't believe I just wrote that!) I don't have a glut of tomatoes to use up but may go and buy some just so I can make this recipe. :-)

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    1. I can't believe I wrote 'that' either. But, it was the best fit ... and I suffer for my art ... ;-)

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  10. My kind of recipe! And don't we all do our best thinking on the toilet or in the shower! Thanks for the laugh!

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    1. Thank you! It's those precious single-tasking moments isn't it?

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  11. I will share this over on the BEglorious facebook page, a good recipe while highly entertaining, a rae combination ;) I have to say I have never cooked garlic with the skins on, is that a Julie idea or something commonly done on your side of the pond? Oh! I have a blog to suggest, they travel and decorate and share very yummy recipes...http://www.kevinandamanda.com/

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    1. Thanks so much Beverly! Definitely not a Julie thing - I've seen 'proper' cooks do it ... ;-)

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  12. If only all recipes were written like this! I particularly the parts of the method that refer to licking the spoon, going to the loo (and washing your hands) and pausing the TV ... brilliant!

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    1. Aw thanks. And all true [I guess that's what makes the best connections!]

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  13. Loved it. Love these kind of meals that just sort of make themselves! Will be sharing in my 1+4 on Sunday and will pin once I get to my laptop - ooh: that'll be millions of potential views for you then ;) LOVED how you wrote this....!!!! Can't wait for more pieces like this (not necessarily recipes!).....[your bit about lonely writers did make me cry, however....we gotta stick together, girl......]

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  14. P. S. Yay! Managed to leave a comment from my phone....off to comment on your other posts now!!!!!

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  15. At last, a recipe I can understand. This is my sort of cooking!!

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    1. Funny how when you think it's just you ... it never is!

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  16. I don't think you understood the idea of recipe blogging - shouldn't it be all about serious instructions and arty photos? And most importantly have at least 3 ingredients you have never heard of or could buy unless you live in London?
    my word, I think I need to share your blog with my Y11 tutor group. Tuesday is DEAR time (drop everything and read). They HATE it. Today they wanted to know what I read, so I told them Terry Pratchett was a fave of mine and that he did comedy/magic/fantasy books. They don't believe that a book make you laugh out loud (or indeed anything you read could). How wrong were they? I LOVED this blog post and if I did the cooking at home I would be trying your recipe tonight, in fact I just might so I can have a decent lunch tomorrow for once.

    Thank you :D

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    1. I know ... and where are all the freebies sent to me by big brands wanting to sponsor a post?

      How sad they don't think reading can be funny! They're missing out on all the strange looks you get from strangers when you're snorting in public!

      Thank *you*!

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  17. If you really loved me, you'd invent a recipe I could eat instead of sentencing me to a life of plain, sauceless penis pasta.

    Sigh.

    x

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    1. There's *nothing* 'sauce'-less about plain penis pasta! x

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  18. This is the best thing I have read in a long time! I may have to try it this week. I'm glad someone else leaves the pan, near(ish) the sink in the hope that the washing up fairies will come and do it.

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    1. Ha! It's funny how when you write something you think is specifically 'you' - it turns out other people can relate!

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  19. I came here on the recommendation of some mutual blog friends. Oh my. BEST recipe I've ever had the pleasure to read! And I had no idea that penis shaped pasta was I thing... wondering now where I would go to purchase such a thing....

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    1. Thank you! I've definitely seen it [but I've never tried it!!]. Like a novelty gift thing, I was going to say it was probably for hen parties then I thought 'who eats pasta on a hen night?'.

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  20. Loved the comment about penis shaped pasta! Recipe looks lovely - one I will have to try when hubby is away as he he hates tomatoes!

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    1. I can't imagine how limiting it is if you don't like tomatoes - they're everywhere! Guess that rules out Italian food altogether!

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  21. Chuckling and spluttering here :). And enjoying looking at the number of comments you have!

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    1. Ha! Now I know what makes people comment ... ;-)

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  22. I thought I would pop by and have a look at your blog again. I am so glad I did. This made me laugh so much. Especially What maybe lurking in the bottom drawer of the fridge. How did you know?! I found two mouldering cucumbers well parts of which were fit for nothing unless you want a grey beard... Going to Pin this on my Pinterest recipe board !

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    1. Thanks Maggie! I guess we've all got those lurkers in the fridge ...

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  23. Was definitely the most fun recipe I've ever read! And, I bet it turned out good too. : ) I love tomatoes and it's rare I ever have any left over ones for making this [besides that, most everything I make goes into the microwave these days. lol]

    As always, thanks for such a fun read. You make my day when I read your posts and I know that I'm not the only one who loves reading what you've wrote either. : ) (Hugs)

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    1. You're always so kind Debi! And yes, it does taste good - I've made it last night so will be having it again later this week!

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  24. My favourite shot is of the dirty pan. I like your approach to cooking. It's how I make soup. Here in Australia I've just planted my first tomato plant so I'll need to remember to come back to this post when I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. Maybe the garlic I planted last Autumn will be ready by then too.

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    1. Best of luck with your harvest , when it arrives. Ours was pathetic this year! Not at all sure what we did wrong / differently to every other year.

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  25. This is exactly how I cook. Actual ingredients and amounts are just a guideline, yes? I've shared on Pinterest which is where I put all the things I want to try.

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    1. Thanks for pinning it Melissa. I hardly ever cook anything that requires ingredients to be measured. I leave that kind of thing to James who likes the structure!

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  26. This looks like a recipe to remember, and I'll definitely be giving it a bash. But the one thing I wondered was ... where do the mushrooms and olives go? Do they get added raw at the end?

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    1. Well spotted Careena! I didn't notice that I'd missed that out - I've edited the post now to say you just add them at the same time as the tomatoes at the start. Thanks for the use of your eagle editing eyes!

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  27. Hmm. I don't like mushrooms or olives but the roasted tomatoes and garlic sounds good. I usually just use passata, garlic, and herbs for our pasta sauce. I loved your foodie blog post and I hope you do some baking soon! x

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  28. Now this is a recipe I can relate to! Loved all the asides in it. I'll give it a try - maybe this way the seeds won't bother me (used to love tomatoes, still do but lately the seeds bother me -tmi)

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  29. Oh Julie this has to be one of your best posts ever! I love that you took a photo of the bowl after it was used and the way you cook could so be me - trying to watch Tv and cook something else at the same time! - so funny. Plus you get a Pointless answer? I'm impressed! Thanks for sharing and making me laugh out loud. Plus I might try this (if I can find the right shaped pasta ;-) )

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