Sunday, 6 November 2005

Scotty's Pasta Sauce

I think I will irregularly blog recipes on Sunday. This one was cooked up (so to speak) in Germany by a colleague of mine, Scotty M. He was on an Australian Junior Engineer's salary, and malnutrition was a distinct danger, as that was well below the German poverty line in 1989.

Of neccessity, he came up with a nutritious meal whose ingredients were rather cheap in Bremen. I've played around with it a bit over the years, but it's still basically his recipe, and the best pasta sauce I know.

The very best bit is that it's quick to make from a standing start. The cooking times at each stage give you just enough time to prepare the ingredients for the next. It's best if you're not too fussy about exact quantities, or sizes of the vegetables used in the ingredients. That way every time you cook it it will be subtly different, and you can experiment with different proportions till you find one that's most to your taste.

* Pour a good sized splodge of olive oil into a frypan, and turn up the heat.
* Put on at least a liter of water on a high heat, to cook the pasta.
* Thinly slice (as in to the thickness of potato chips) 2 Zucchinis, and put them into the heated oil, which should be sizzling.
* Take one red, one yellow, and one green Capsicum (Bell Pepper in the US), and julienne them (cut them into slices the size of potato straws or thereabouts), and then add them to the pan.
* Take two onions, peel, and slice thickly, and then add them to the pan.
* By now the water should be boiling : add some salt, then a packet of multicoloured Farfalle (Butterfly or Bowtie Pasta). Egg, Spinach and Carrot pasta is best.
* Take two tomatoes, and quarter them. Add them to the pan. These are used to judge when the rest is cooked, when the skins fall off, the sauce is ready.
* Take a handful of mushrooms, slice them, and add them to the pan.
* Now add a good sized slather of light cream, or sour light cream. Stir well, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
* Add a pouring of white Vin Ordinaire, that last 1/4 bottle of Moselle that's been sitting in the fridge for a few days works quite well.
* Check that the pasta is Al Dente, and continually stir the contents of the saucepan. It should be just boiling, and the sauce thickening.
* As soon as the pasta is Al Dente, drain it.
* By now the skins should be coming off the tomatoes, and the cream and vegetable mix should be the consistency of a thin porridge or thick soup.

Serve, either the pasta on a plate with the sauce on top, or the sauce in a separate cruet.

The Zucchini should be crisped and slightly caramelised, the onions sweet, and the red-green-yellow colours of the sauce match the red-green-offwhite colour of the pasta.

The sauce is good enough to have on its own. It's vegetarian too, but for confirmed ominivores, a half-rasher of bacon thinly sliced into match-sized pieces and added with the onion works very well. Don't overdo it though. Similarly, a thinly sliced clove of garlic or two added late, with the mushrooms, is a nice variation.

Bon Apetit

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