On the sauce

Saucy Brad

Took the tack this year of adopting something I wanted to learn as a resolution, rather than something I wanted to give up (like, pounds).

See, I’ve always been envious of a certain friend who’s known to have folks over, chatting them up while he throws together the best dishes in Columbus, from scratch, on his kitchen island. I won’t name him, so as to prevent strangers from knocking on his door at suppertime, thereby jeopardizing the occasional invite to his fine abode. But this fellow, I’ll just call him Drew Endzone, stores magical concoctions in his head. Pistachio honey cream sauce for pastas, pan-fried Thai fishcakes, aperitifs with St. Germain elderberry liqueur, it’s all up there.

And so it would be that I decided to tackle making sauces this year.

Drew Endzone does this sort of thing a lot, so he can fall back on years of experience and practice when he’s whipping up something. Me, I’m gonna keep things simple so that I have the flexibility to take advantage of whatever fresh I’ve got on hand.

My first attempt was in January. I literally dug through the fridge to see what I could use for a marinara. There were some peppers that were going soft, and some mushrooms that were ready. And, well, there were a few more ingredients too — like one of our homemade pesto cubes as a sort of seasoning stock for the pot. I took a picture so I would remember what all I threw together, but the photo has disappeared into the flash card equivalent of washing-machine sock heaven. And anyway, the exact ingredients are not just beside the point; they’re the exact opposite of the point. The point is to use what you have.

Luckily, what I had were also a few jars of tomatoes that Jenn canned last year.

It was, um, really good.

Next up was a fra diavolo, a couple weeks later. All evidence of this is also M.I.A., but I know I just used dried crushed red pepper for the diavolo part. I’m anxious to try this again with a couple of re-hydrated chilis from the strand of dried ones we bought on our drive out West last year.

If you need recipes for simple marinara or fra diavolo, the interwebs overfloweth with them. But it’s really more fun to throw caution to the wind and, well, whatever into the pot. Get playful and experiment.

So anyway, I’ll post updates — with photos next time — from deeper into Q2. And if I keep throwing touchdown passes like this, I’ll screw up enough courage to have Drew Endzone over for dinner.

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