Kitchen disasters: The marinara edition

August 20, 2008 at 4:54 pm 3 comments

I did something so stupid last night that the whole boot of Italy is kicking me in the arse right now. Italian nonnas would scream in terror and cover their grandchildren’s eyes at the sight of it. All I can say in my defense is that hunger clouded my judgement and made me do the unthinkable.

All day yesterday visions of spinach lasagna danced in my head. After my post-workout shower, I preheated the oven and put a pot of water on to boil. The cookbook I was following had two recipes for marinara sauce. One was fairly traditional, the other “quick and easy.” I was skeptical of the latter, but the rumbling in my tummy was louder than the little voice warning me that this was a very bad idea.

The problem with the recipe was that it instructed one to throw all of the ingredients, raw, into a blender. This included 1/2 an onion and two cloves of garlic per cup of sauce. I cut down the amount of onion and garlic to less than half and threw in the tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. After giving it several whirls, I took off the lid and had a taste. Oh. Dear. Lord. It was like eating bright orange onion juice. This was some seriously offensive sauce.

I desperately started to try to bring the sauce back from the great beyond by dumping out over half of it (outside, natch) and adding tomato juice. No dice. I added 28 ounces of San Marzano tomatoes. Still bitter. Salt, sugar, more spices. Forget it. The sauce grew higher and higher as I added everything I could think to add. My sauce had flat-lined, but I was still performing CPR. Had Luis been home, I could imagine him pulling me away. “It’s gone!” he’d scream. “You’ve done all you could!”

The sauce was wrecked, there was odious orange gunk everywhere, and I was too annoyed to bother starting again. I also was out of tomatoes. The oven, still warming up in anticipation of spinach lasagna, was turned off. Game over.

Spinach lasagna will have to wait for another day, a day on which I’ll make marinara the right way…starting with the happy smell of sautéing onion and garlic. Some things are worth the wait.


Entry filed under: Food for thought. Tags: , .

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