There are very few places in the known universe where the relentless march of entropy can be quite so clearly observed as in my kitchen. Every once in a while I am overcome with a sort of madness and actually clean the mess I have made while experimenting on poor unsuspecting foodstuffs.
Today was one of those days.
While home for lunch I actually got out the 409 and a new roll of paper towels (for cleaning, not for lunch) and the stove top and counters were pristine when I returned to work.
Naturally, to restore balance to the universe, something messy had to be made for dinner.
We made lasagna.
Lasagna… is messy.
In case you can’t recognize the pieces in that mess of tomato-y goodness, we added a couple of layers of thinly sliced zucchini along with the usual meat, cheese, pasta and sauce. It was magnificent.
…and I probably needed the extra serving of veggies, because I still eat like a college student when I don’t have a parent around to set me straight.
Speaking of veggies, I make my own sauce, so I can maximize the vegetable content while minimizing the unnecessary stuff that tends to pile up in prepared sauces. I start with a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, and a 12 oz can of tomato paste. If the sauce is going straight onto pasta, I generally skip the tomato paste. For pizza sauce, I use petite diced tomatoes, because pepperoni just doesn’t sit right on top of large chunks of tomato.
The exact seasoning generally depends on my mood, but more often than not, I add the following:
- healthy dash of oregano, marjoram, basil, and paprika
- red pepper (one shake for polite company, many shakes if it’s just me)
- liberal splash of marsala cooking wine
- even more liberal pile of minced garlic (again, largely dependent upon the company)
- optional: dash of dried onion and/or sage, splash of beef broth
I cook this mixture on low heat, stirring occasionally, for as long as I can. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes.
…unless I let it get too hot and the bottom burns, then I stir vigorously and hope the burned taste is sufficiently diluted.