Well, it’s New Year’s Eve and time to think of a realistic and achievable resolution for 2010. I’ve usually stuck to my personal favorites….Don’t smoke (never have)…Don’t gamble (never have)…and Eat more vegetables (already eat a ton). But this year I’m going to go out on a limb and actually change something I do.
A couple of nights ago I decided to make one of my wife’s favorite meals: Spaghettini with Tuna Sauce. This is an excruciatingly simple sauce recipe that calls for great olive oil, a few cloves of fresh crushed garlic, home-canned tomatoes, and a tin of flaked white tuna added at the very end (it should not cook).
While the sauce was simmering I decided to prepare my own bowl with a few extra ingredients: black olives, capers, and fresh garlic. Not a bad thing since these are the basic ingredients of a traditional Putanesca sauce. After adding the aforementioned items I happened to notice some boiled kale sitting in the fridge, so I added a few chopped-up leaves to my bowl. Then I saw the semi-sundried tomatoes sitting at the back of the fridge, so I chopped up and threw in a couple of these. A jar of hot Italian peppers caught my eye, so in went a big dollop. There was an almost-empty tube of anchovy paste sitting on a fridge shelf, so I squeezed out the last of it into my bowl. Would this be fishy enough I asked myself? Perhaps not…so in went a generous scrapping of tuna bottarga to enhance the whole thing (tuna….tuna caviar…a natural, right?). Finally I threw in some feta cheese for good measure. I had noticed some nice fresh red peppers in the vegetable tray but decided to show some restraint 😦 .
When my wife got home I served out the al-dente spaghettini, hers with the plain tuna sauce and mine with all the “enhancements”. Now, in principle, everything I added to my bowl should have been perfectly complementary; these are all ingredients that in various combinations form the basis of excellent pasta sauces. But it tasted like dung! I looked over enviously at my wife eating her meal with quiet hums of appreciation for its deliciousness. “How’s yours” she asked. “Great” I replied, afraid to tell the truth and get her withering “You do it all the time” stare of disapproval.
So my 2010 resolution is to stop f#^ing around with great traditional recipes and rather to focus on a less-is-more approach of a few excellent ingredients prepared simply and appreciated for their unique flavors. The Sasquatch is coming for dinner tonight and I’m making Rabbit Stifado as per my friend Peter’s (Kalofagas) recipe. I promise to stick to it to the letter!