Monday, May 10, 2010

Impromtu Italian

Why am I craving wintry dishes now that spring has finally arrived? Or maybe it's the really ripe tomatoes of the future that I'm wishing for? Whatever the reason, I made a quick sauce the other day that featured pasta for winter and tomatoes for summer. I'm all mixed up.

So was this dish.

I used Jamie Oliver's trick of squeezing Italian sausages out of their casings to make the meatballs, which I browned quickly in very hot olive oil before setting them aside. I like them to be brown and caramelized but still soft and luscious inside.

In the same pan (both to save flavor and dishes), I sautéed a chopped onion and four sliced garlic cloves over a slightly lowered heat, added sliced mushrooms along the way, a big pinch of herbs de Provence and an even bigger pinch of fennel seed to toast for a few minutes before dumping in a can of chopped tomatoes and all the juice. And a splash of white wine, which diluted the color but added flavor, a nice bonus.

When all those ingredients had gotten to know each other over a low flame, I added back the sausage meatballs and their accumulated juices, stirred it all around and added the cooked vermicelli directly to the pan to toss and absorb all the goodness.

The whole thing took about 30 minutes. It might have improved a bit by some longer, slower simmering but I was in a hurry for this impromptu Italian dinner.
I'm all mixed up, as the seasons around here have been for months.

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Blogger peter said...

I always want tomatoes most when they're right around the corner... though in our case, that's still a few months off.

Monday, May 10, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Spaghetti at my house today, too. It is NOT spring.

We will be forgoing the meatballs, but they'd be yummz. All I really need is the pasta and the highly flavored tomato sauce.

Monday, May 10, 2010  
Blogger namastenancy said...

That sounds delicious. It's so chilly over here today that I am making a chicken curry but the spaghetti and meatballs sounds yummy. If it continues cold and rainy, that's what I'll be making next.

Monday, May 10, 2010  
Blogger Rev. Biggles said...

Jaime Oliver !?!?!?!?

Gah, I was doing that more than 25 years ago! Phooie.

xo, Biggles

Monday, May 10, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Yes, Biggles, but it's always nice when a prolific, popular author teaches the next generation some tricks.
Zoomie is the next generation, just ask her.

Monday, May 10, 2010  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Yum, and it's the right time of year for it round these parts :)(accept it's unseasonably warm, 26 degrees today, outrageous!)

Monday, May 10, 2010  
Blogger Louis la Vache said...

There seems to be a pasta epidemic. You posted this, evidently knowing intuitively that «Louis» was craving pasta - and Mary also posted pasta. BTW - a pasta epidemic is a GOOD thing...

Monday, May 10, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Peter, we don't seem to be close, either - the ones from Mexico are still the only ones we see in the stores. I'll wait.

Cookiecrumb, no, yesterday was _not_ spring, but today is!

Nancy, schizophrenic weather we're having, isn't it?

Rev. Biggles, yeah, but I didn't know you 25 years ago, sad to say.

Morgan, glad to weigh in with something you can use soon. The kitties will be snuggling up soon for warmth.

Louis, a plethora of pasta *is* a good thing!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010  

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