Marcella’s tomato sauce

Last week was a week of healthy Indian food, low on carbs, and tons of kickboxing. I was kind of hungry and salt-deprived all week and was generally feeling weird and dizzy and light-headed, so I decided I should return to my food roots this week and just have tons of pasta. This is the way my body is used to functioning, and things turn weird when I don’t eat enough pasta/carbs. (I am actually serious about this. I think it’s my metabolism. I can’t get full unless I have a lot of carbs.)

So I wanted to find a way to make pasta interesting, since usually I just put some things on it and that’s it. I am planning to do Swiss chard, chickpeas, and cheese (gruyere and/or mozzarella), in the vein of that one thing I made a while ago and took horrible cell-phone pictures of, but then I thought I would do a real tomato sauce. I have made tomato sauce before, but always just by throwing things into a pot of simmering crushed tomatoes—I wanted, this time, to do a big, real one. So I’m doing the one Marcella Hazan describes as “the most concentrated and the most strongly flavored”: Tomato Sauce I. I’m using canned tomatoes because it is April and there are no good tomatoes anywhere (and also because even when it is tomato season all the tomatoes I can ever find are nasty).

This recipe involves a full half-cup of olive oil. Ew. I am sautéeing 1/3 c onions in it now, and will soon add carrots and celery, finely diced. (That’s what I meant about a real tomato sauce—so many small bits in it.)

There are very few pictures for this post, and all of them are very bad.

Ugh, I just added my can of tomato puree and realized I had no idea if that was two cups. BLAKSJDF. Ok, I measured posthumously. It seems like approximately the right amount, ish.

The sauce simmered for forty-five minutes while I washed and chopped the chard. (I realized I never posted about my previous experience with chard, which was really really good—I had just sliced it into ribbons and put it in a pot with a lot of garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes, and it was GREAT. So it’s my new go-to green, sort of.) I cooked it down with some garlic, until it had completely wilted and given off all its water, and then added it to the tomato sauce, which was now done.

Back when things were cooking.

The tomato sauce was so good I thought it was probably a terrible idea to add anything, but I did anyway because it is late and I am tired and cannot make good food decisions. I also added chickpeas and then regretted it, but whatever, because I need my protein so I can grow huge muscles. Also I have to deal with the cheese situation and I don’t feel like it. ZZZ AND ARGH AND I AM HUNGRY AS;LDIG PHU4WAFJ oh no this post is turning bad. (This is the same day as the focaccia, by the way.)

Cheese mountain. Aka Magic Mountain. One day later, I have absolutely no idea why I took this photo. Things had clearly gotten a little weird.

I am now cooking the pasta. (I am disorganized and also only own two pots, except for my Dutch oven, which I didn’t feel like using because it is heavy and because I am lazy and because I only have two burners anyway so it doesn’t really matter. The other two are in constant use by the dish drainer.) I chose medium-size whole-wheat shells (well 51% whole wheat, which they do so they can put “whole wheat flour” as the first ingredient in the list) because it cooks in seven minutes as opposed to the nine to ten minutes of the better-shaped pastas.

So, it came out really good.

*The Swiss chard turns out to have been a good idea; the chickpeas, not so much. (Though I don’t know if it’s just these particular ones—which are Goya low-sodium because they were cheaper—they’re kind of grainy.)

Tomato Sauce I
from The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan

Makes 6 servings

2 cups tomatoes with their juice (or crushed tomatoes if you can’t read)
1/2 c olive oil
1/3 c finely chopped yellow onion
1/3 c finely chopped carrot
1/3 c finely chopped celery
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp granulated sugar

(I’m only doing the non-fresh-tomato part of this because.)

In a covered saucepan or stockpot add the olive oil and the chopped onion; lightly sauté over medium heat until just translucent, not browned. Add the carrot and celery and cook for one minute. Add the tomato, salt, and sugar and cook at a gentle simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir from time to time.

Note: I covered my pan after a while because I was losing all the tomato sauce to splatterage. Everything in my life is now covered in tomato sauce.

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