When I’m in the mood for something quick and easy, pasta is one of my favorite ‘go to’ dishes. It doesn’t have to be complicated with a multi-ingredient Bolognese or with the precision of the perfect cream sauce. Sometimes it is best to follow the KISS principle: keep it simple stupid.
With the right pasta, by that I mean whole wheat pasta, you don’t need a bunch of ingredients to make the pasta palatable. All you need are just a few ingredients, along with a well-stocked spice rack and you’re ready to whip up a classic Italian dish without the fuss.
Back in the day before I quick smoking and made my health a priority, I was just like most people: convinced I just didn’t have the time to cook a proper meal and made do with the “sauce” in a jar. I use the term ‘sauce’ very loosely here because while I’m sure some tomatoes were harmed in the making of that product, it just doesn’t taste the same. At all. I find the stuff in a jar is very salty and acidic, and while I know that tomatoes have a certain degree of acidity to them, I can eat a tomato without getting heartburn…can’t say the same for Ragu or Prego or even the store brand.
This isn’t me being a food snob, but rather me giving my body what it needs. My body does not need heartburn, that’s for sure. Besides, if I want to pump crap into my body I’d still rather have a cigarette even after 9 years of being nicotine-free. With bad food your body has a negative reaction, and because of the lack of nutritional value you’ll still be hungry later…and that’s after consuming hundreds of calories worth of “food”.
Honestly I’d rather take an extra 20 minutes and make a proper meal that way my leftover calories & fat can go to something I’ll truly enjoy like a nice glass of wine or Irish Whiskey or even my famous (if in my own head) fudgy walnut brownies.
Maybe it’s my too logical (or illogical if you ask the hubs) way of thinking, but I’d rather put in a little effort so that I can have the things I love rather than suffer through something that is easier, but not as good.
Plus if you really think about it; do you really trust what a huge company says it puts into its sauce? I’m not anti-corporation—well, maybe a little—but I certainly am not going to believe any entity who’s main goal is to make a little bit more money by any means necessary. If you knew your doctor was getting a kickback from a pharmaceutical company, would you really believe you were getting the best medicine available or that he’s trying to secure a golf outing in St. Tropez?
Enough with my diatribe; let’s get back to this super simple marinara sauce.
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 5 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
- 2 anchovy filets
- Sea salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste (in a jar NOT a can)
- 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
- 2 tsp. each; basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme
- Whole wheat pasta (enough for 2-4 people)
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Once you have assembled your ingredients you’ll need a large pot for the pasta and a small sauce pot or pan for the sauce. Get the salted water boiling for the pasta and follow cooking instructions.
- Heat olive oil in sauce pan over medium-high heat then add anchovies. Most of the time they come in oil so you can always use the oil from the anchovies. You can also skip this step if you want, but it adds an unmistakable earthiness to the sauce you will love.
- Once filets are nearly fully dissolved, stir in onions and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook onion about 5 minutes or until translucent and add garlic.
- After 2 minutes has elapsed, stir in tomatoes and reduce heat to medium.
- Season with salt, pepper, herbs and spices.
- When the water begins to cook out of the tomatoes, add the tomato paste and stir until blended.
- Reduce heat to simmer until you have a thick marinara, continue to season to taste.
- Plate the pasta and serve marinara on top, or blend it all together and serve.
- Add Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano to the top if desired.
Since this is a pasta dish you might want to have wine with it, but I’m of the mind that you can have whatever you want to drink with your meal whether its water or milk, beer or tequila.