So someone asked me, not long ago, if everything I cook is a roaring success and if my kitchen is a blissful, relaxing place on any given day. The answer is no, not at all. Like most humans, I have my moments and like most cooks, my souffle doesn't always rise (how THAT for a metaphor?!?) I try -and succeed- to stay calm most of the time, even when I cut my self, even when the sauce doesn't reduce, hell, even when I realize I don't have all the ingredients a recipe calls for. Usually, the only times I freak the hell out in the kitchen is when we are running low on wine -but then again, what are boyfriends for if not for running to the store?
Last night, though, I flipped out and it had nothing to do with wine. Well, it kind of did... but not in the way you're thinking. This is what happened. My friend Janet and also my friend Tracey have been asking me to post a recipe for a certain "mock" pizza I make using phyllo dough, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese. Yesterday seemed like a good time to make it, so after work I picked up some cherry tomatoes and some bresaola (Italian cured meat) and headed home, happy as a clam. I didn't even let the phyllo dough intimidate me -which is saying something since I hate the way the littler bugger likes to get all dry and brittle in a matter of seconds of being thawed out. I sliced my tomatoes, made my cheese mixture, sliced some green onions and proceeded to layer sheets of phyllo dough and spoonfuls of cheese -five of them- and then topped my creation with the tomatoes, green onions and a little more cheese for good measure. So what possibly could have gone wrong, you might wonder?
While I was preheating the oven I decided to unload the dishwasher -and this is where it all goes to hell. I slipped on a tiny bit of water and -with my elbow- broke my glass of wine that was sitting on the counter... right next to my mock pizza. Pieces of glass flew literally everywhere, especially on the food and I found myself in a puddle of wine and borken glass, while all of the sudden my dinner plans had gone -quite literally- down the drain. I won't lie:I cried. Not in Julie Powell hysterical fashion, but I cried. And then, because it was 10 p.m., I was tired and mad at the world I did what any Italian would do: I poured myself a new glass of wine and made my favorite pasta dish: pasta alla puttanesca.
PASTA ALLA PUTTANESCA:
1/2 pound spaghetti
24 ounces canned pureed tomatoes
4 tablespoons capers, minced
1 cup black olives, minced
2 garlic cloves
1 small onion, minced
Crushed red pepper
Cook pasta in boiling, salted water.
While pasta cooks, heat EVOO in a large skillet and sautee garlic for a minute or so, making sure it doesn't burn. Add onion and cook for a minute.
Add tomato puree and adjust seasoning with crushed red pepper and very little salt. Stir in minced olives and capers, miz well and taste. It should be plenty salty.
When noodles are cooked drain and add to the skillet, mix with sauce and serve. And no, after all that happened last night I didn't take a picture of it!