Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rustic Amatriciana

Last weekend I rented a house up in Kennebunk, ME as a reward for getting through a big project at work.  I love Kennebunk, because it's got the feel of Maine with easy access to both beaches and woods.  One of the things I loved about this house was it's kitchen.  My kitchen at home is about 50 sq ft (at least it feels that way), with no counter space or creation space!  So, I was so excited to find this when I walked in...major upgrade!  :)

With a kitchen like this at my disposal, I realized that I needed to cook something while I was there.  I had brought up some fresh tomatoes, an onion and a red pepper.  What could I make with that?  I had an idea. I headed to the store for some ham, crushed red pepper flakes and angel hair.

Rustic Amatriciana
(it's rustic because I would have loved to add some paste, fresh garlic and herbs, but I made do with what I had without replacing everything I had left at home).

5 oz ham chopped
3/4 of a large onion, chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped (I left the skin and the seeds for more fiber)
1 large red pepper, chopped
4 oz of Angel Hair Pasta

In the cabinet of the house I found salt & pepper, dried oregano, basil and thyme, as well as some garlic powder.  Scavenging can be good! :)

Chop up your ham and onion.
Start these on the stove, medium heat.  I didn't use any oil as I didn't have any, but a drop of olive oil wouldn't have hurt!  Then chop up your tomatoes.  As I mentioned above, I left the skin and seeds.  Provided a little more liquid for my sauce, and I don't like getting rid of anything!

Add the tomatoes, red pepper to your ham & onion saute.  Add your herbs here.  I was liberal with the italian spices to give it more flavor, about a 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, and a 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper.  Add 1/4 tsp of black pepper and 1/8 tsp of salt.  Amatriciana is supposed to be quite spicy, and I love it that way.  I also added a splash of the Viognier wine I was sipping while cooking. 

Mix in, cover and saute for at least 15 minutes on low-medium heat.  The cover will keep the sauce from drying out, and help to cook the tomatoes all the way through.  While you're waiting, boil your water for the pasta.  When your saute is done, it should look something like this!   Yes, there's still quite a bit of liquid left, but your pasta will soak that up quick!  Quick, put your angel hair in to cook!
This recipe makes 2 bowls of Rustic Amatriciana.

Put half of the pasta in 2 bowls, and then ladle 1/2 the sauce onto each.  Add more crushed red pepper as needed.
Serve with a glass of your favorite current wine.  I had a bottle of Viognier open that I had been sipping, and it was delish with this!

This dish was even better the next day as the spices had time to meld.  It was fresh and light, and it's fun to make do but still feed your soul.

Hope you enjoy!

Maine, I'll be back soon...

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