Have I done a Spaghetti post before? I can't recall, so here goes!
Spaghetti, a la Gunfighter
I started with all of the usual suspects: Spaghetti (I hope that the fact that I don't make my own pasta doesn't make you hate me), A jar of Prego spaghetti sauce (I Hope the fact that I don't always make my own sauce doesn't make you have me), Onions (I hope the fact that I don't grow... oh never mind!), carrots (yes carrots), anchovies (I'll explain about them later), and sausage (I use turkey sausage).
As usual, when I cook, there has to be music... So, tonight's music will be: "The Best of Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, and "The String Quartet Tribute To Van Morrison". These are two of my favorite CD's, and if you aren't familiar with either of them, I highly recommend them. The first CD covers the work that Marvin Gaye did during his unfortunately brief collaboration with Tammi Terrell before her untimely death in 1970. The songs are beautiful, and they evoke memories of my childhood. The standout song that many of you will remember is: "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" (which was covered by Vince Gill & Gladys Knight a few years ago). On the Van Morrison tribute CD, you will hear the music of one of the industry's most talented artists played by classical string quartets... what you will learn from this CD is that good music lends itself easily to nearly sort of genre or arrangement, it is the mark of high quality. Of all of the great tracks on this CD, for me, the stand out is "Have I Told You Lately, That I Love You?".
My friends, Spaghetti is one of the easiest things in the world to make... which is why I made it the other night. I didn't have anything special planned, and we were on the tail end of the shopping period (I try to a major grocery shop only twice a month), and spaghetti is a favorite in our house.
Let's begin, shall we?
Pour Yourself a glass of wine. Yes, I know that it seems that all of my recipes start like this... but they don't. Next week, I'll have a beer, ok?
Start your music.
Next, fill the pasta pot and put it on to boil. (Mrs G. gave me this pot as a gift about three years ago... it gets good use!)
Thinly slice the onions (the thinner the better... I use my Chinese cooking knife for this. Careful not to slice your knuckles... it hurts!), and saute in olive oil.
NOTE: I use Carapelli's Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but, I ain't Rachel Ray, so don't expect me to say "EVOO"
If you are like us, you like your onions practically caramelized, so start early enough to let them cook a long time. Before the onions are done cooking...
Take about a cup of baby carrots and chop them in a food processor, and add them to the onions.
About the carrots... you can eliminate them completely if you don't like them, but believe me when I tell you that you won't really taste them... more on that later. The main reason to add them is that they neutralize a lot of the acid that is present in tomato sauce, which is a real plus for someone like me, that suffers from acid reflux.
When the carrots & onions are done, set them aside.
Prepare your sausage: I always take the casings off the sausage before I cook it. If you have never done it, try this: Hold the sausage across your palm, use a paring knife or a vegetable knife and find the beginning of the casing, holding the knife nearly flat, lift the casing and slice through it, working your way to the end of the sausage.
In a frying pan, using some Olive oil cooking spray, cook the sausage over medium/low heat, until just about cooked through. Set aside.
NOTE: While the sausage cooks, take some time to sing along with the music, dance if you must, and have some more wine. These things won't make you a better cook, but it will make cooking more fun.
In the same pan, add a teaspoon of olive oil and the contents of a can of flat anchovies (without the oil they were packed in.). Cook until the anchovies disintegrate, and form a paste. This won't take very long... and while they are cooking... slice the sausage and use a food processor to crumble it.
Now, here is the fun part: Take a tablespoon of this stuff: "California Sun-Dry, Garlic w/sun dried tomatoes, and mix it with the anchovies, and combine. Cook on low for a few minutes.
Once those things have had a chance to combine, add the sausage, carrots, and onions to the pan. Stir and let cook together for a few minutes.
Add the spaghetti sauce and simmer on low for at least 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
When your sauce is done, season to taste.
Boil your spaghetti until al dente (What, you didn't know that I speak Italian?)
Drain, but don't rinse, the spaghetti.
How you serve this is up to you, at Chez Gunfighter, spaghetti is serves with the sauce mixed with your pasta... do it however you like. One benefit of mixing the spaghetti with the sauce is that any excess liquid in your sauce can be absorbed by the pasta AND the carrots. This is helpful if anyone in your home has issues about "wet" food.
Don't forget the garlic bread!