After Desaster Lunch (insects in the paprika powder, badly de-veined shrimps, salad that’s gone off and fishsauce on a no-fishsauce day), I resigned from Chefdom for dinner and begged Sous Chef to take over for dinner duty.
Turns out that was the best decision I made all day. Sous Chef, rapidly promoted to Acting Chef, introduced me to the most amazing pasta sauce ever, repeatedly assuring me that it was nothing grand and would surely disappoint me due to its lack of spectacularity.
And truthfully, spectacular it is not, even though it is beautifully fragrant and vibrantly coloured thanks to the saffron. I asked to have it again the day after.
In true Italian style, we had the pasta first. Laid out on the table was the mozzarella to follow – bufola of course! Which reminds me: there must be quite a lot of bufola (bufolae?) around to give the milk the mozzarella is made from, so why is it that I never see bufola meat up for sale? Or bufola milk and bufola yogurt? Whoever knows the answer, or knows where in Milan or Munich I could get my hands on either, please let me know.
As you can see by the one piece of bread on the table, one of us also had bread with his pasta. Which is the one Italian custom I’ll never get into. Apparently, a real Italian needs to have bread or at least crackers with everything, including risotto, pasta, potatoes and, I suspect, bread. That said bread is wrapped in a plastic bag first so it goes – and I quote – “nice and squishy” I seriously hope is an oddity unique to Acting Chef.
I did go full native on the whole having a glass or three while cooking thing though, that’s something I can wholeheartedly embrace.
pasta / 1 sachet saffron / 1 garlic clove / 3 big tomatoes / a couple slices salsiccia or chorizo / olive oil / salt
Fry a halved garlic clove and a couple slices of salsiccia in A LOT of olive oil. Pour in some, then add some more, and if you think you put in too much, add another glug (you can always drain a bit if it really is too much). Take the garlic clove out. Next, add 3 big tomatoes, chopped. Salt lightly. Stir a bit and leave to simmer for 7 or 8 minutes, then add saffron and leave to simmer for some more. What I have learned so far on my Italian adventures is that the longer you let the tomatoes do their thing, which seems to be to disintegrate, the better the sauce. Cook your pasta (whichever type you like – I won’t go all pasta pairing nazi on you here), drain and toss with the sauce.
Hint for Acting Chefs: now would be a good time to ask for a promotion.