Sunday, August 22, 2010

Creativity, Simplified

There are so many divine food purveyors in the Bay Area.
For those days when I just can't be bothered to whip up something wonderful, but I still want to eat something wonderful, I have learned to use the fast food of local artisans.
Chris Cosentino and Mark Santore Pastore (I got it wrong) are providing spaghetti sauce in a jar. They'd never call it that. It's ragu. And it's made from the pointy tip ends of salami, the parts that can't be sliced. These seasoned little meat nuggets get ground up and blended with tomatoes and who knows what else. It's thick, so at home you thin the sauce with a little pasta water or whatever. Making a sort of expensive purchase ($12) go a long way. We got three meals each for the two of us.
However (and sorry, Chris and Mark), I'm now thinking of making my own ragu from a similar formulation and freezing it in packets for emergency suppers. Might even use Boccalone sausage (of course I will!). I could flavor it differently each time, as the mood strikes. Extra tomato. Garlic. Hot chiles. Fun.
Today we flavored ours with mushrooms, and if you think mushrooms are a tired old pasta cliche, think again. Really good to eat.
So, I'm actually excited about this. It's comfort food, made in a most comforting fashion.

NEWSFLASH: We cooked the pasta in water, duh, with a sprig of fresh bay leaves. We had never before cooked pasta with bay leaves in the water. It was so smart. So proper. It's an "always," now.


Zoomie said...

What a good idea to add flavor to the pasta water! But, why not reward those enterprising young (?) men by using their ragu and changing up the spicing to suit your mood? Easier, still delicious and still original, like you. At $2 per meal (okay, maybe $3 when you add the garlic, pasta, etc), it's still a bargain.

Zoomie said...

P.S. Where did you purchase it? I'd like to try.

karine said...

I believe it is Mark Pastore not Santore. Their Ragu is wonderful.

Barbara said...

I've just caught up on all your summer food.I often do peas in butter with iceberg lettuce, but have never added proscuito. I'm looking forward to trying corn your way.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Bay leaves in the pasta water, interesting idea (as usual).

Greg said...

The ragu sounds wonderful. Where did you buy it? Ferry Plaza?

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: I am totally rewarding those wild men. They run Boccalone, where I will be buying the sausage to make my own ragu. Even when I'm looking for shortcuts, it seems I still like to cook.
These fellas (well, Mark, anyway) now appear at the Marin market Thursday and Sunday. They don't seem to be getting as much business as they should!!

Karine: I have always appreciated the kindness of editors. Thanks for the correction.

Barbara: That corn was so good, I haven't been able to eat it again prepared that way. Like eating a mink coat.

Denise: I was immodestly thrilled with the effect.

Greg: No, they come here! Twice a week, I think.

Anonymous said...

Curious by the bay leave in the pasta water.... I bet it smelled wonderful!

I will try it next time I make pasta. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm Boccalone. I am deeply in love with their Nduja.

cookiecrumb said...

Sally: The lingering smell of boiled bay leaves in the house is INTOXICATING. Give it a try.
(Can I make a perfume from this?)

Grin: Nduja was the first thing we tried; a little too livery for me, but so sumptuous.