Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Don't put all your eggs in one basket!

I came home from work today with an awesome plan for dinner. It's a gorgeous night after weeks of heat and humidity. Last night's rain and storms gave way to beautiful mostly sunny 70s and you can't ask for a better al fresco dining experience than a light dinner on your deck overlooking the lake. I'm thinking a nice French omelet with tomatoes and zucchini, with some mozzarella melted over- not a ton, just enough, a couple slices of buttery toast and something ice cold and refreshing to drink.

However, someone made pasta the other day and used almost the entire dozen eggs without letting me know. Scratch the omelet plans. Now what?

It's a good thing a chef also lives at the Little Lake House,and it's also a good thing that we keep a pantry fully stocked with the basics for just about every dish we like. Anchovies, capers, onion, garlic, olive oil and for something different, a jar of home-canned diced tomatoes with zucchini and garlic, fresh Italian parsley from the garden- a dish is born! The Chef's version of Puttanesca- with a couple switches to work with what we had, swapping the olives for zucchini chunks and creating a delicious version of the famous "whores' sauce." Many stories tell the legend of how this sauce was branded with that name, but it doesn't matter to me- it's just delicious!

The Chef's Special Puttanesca

1/2 cup chopped red onion
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB capers
salt, pepper
olive oil
1 pint (about 2 cups) diced tomatoes- we used home-canned tomatoes with zucchini and garlic
spaghetti for 2 servings

Heat several tablespoons olive oil in deep pot. Saute onion until softened. Add garlic, cook and stir to soften garlic but don't brown. Add 2 anchovy fillets to pot, breaking up and allowing it to "melt" into the oil. Add capers and tomatoes. Heat to boiling.

Cook the spaghetti til al dente. Drain well, then toss with tomato mixture. Divide between 2 serving plates, garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with Parmesan if desired.

This dish comes together so quickly and is impressive enough for guests. A fresh salad and some crusty Italian bread makes it a complete feast. It's easy to adjust up for larger groups too. Give it a try!

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