So Sherry is out of town for a couple of days and I'm on my own.
It feels very strange pulling out just a single glass from the cupboard.
It feels even stranger being completely responsible for dinner!
In case you haven't guessed already by reading previous posts of ours, while I may be the source of much of the inspiration for what we do, Sherry is very much in charge when it comes to the execution.
Last night, being temporarily responsible for both the inspiration *and* the execution, it was all on me to figure out what to make for dinner. It needed to be heavy on the inspiration, while at the same time being easy on the execution. I went with a simple, summer-focused tomato pasta dish based on ideas I got from this thread on eGullet. It isn't so much a recipe as it is a simple process and a state of mind.
While making breakfast, I also chopped up a few cloves of garlic (four, I think). I put the garlic in a medium-sized bowl and generously covered it with extra virgin olive oil. Don't hold back on the olive oil, since that is the only fat in the dish and we want the richness that it provides.
If that looks like a lot of garlic to you, have no fear - it mellows nicely. If you aren't a big garlic fan, I guess you could use less. Or just make a different dish...
The olive-oil-covered garlic just sits at room temperature on the kitchen counter for the day - the flavor of the garlic slowly leaching out into the oil.
A few hours before I wanted to have dinner, I diced up a couple of good-sized tomatoes (around 10oz, total) and popped them into the garlic oil. I added a few generous pinches of kosher salt, gave it a quick stir, and then left it alone for a while longer.
After a few hours with the odd stir now and then (and admittedly stealing bits of tomato "to make sure it tastes right") the mixture was transformed. The tomatoes softened and gave up much of their juices to mix with the oil to become a rich, fragrant sauce.
At this point, I admit that I could happily spoon this stuff into my mouth now and call it a day. I smells amazing and tasted event better. But, we need to control ourselves and do a bit more to pull the dish together.
Heat some water, salt it generously, grab some spaghetti (we keep ours in an Oban canister, don't you?) and toss it in to cook. And yes, "grab some" is the measurement. I told you in advance this wasn't really a recipe!
When the spaghetti is ready, drain it and mix it in the pasta pot with the tomato sauce. Serve it in a bowl and top it with a chiffonade of basil. What? You don't have a chiffonade of basil? Neither did I, but I quickly rectified the situation. I told you in advance this was more a state of mind than a recipe...
The result was exactly what I was looking for. Richness from the olive oil, pungent depth from the garlic, and drawn together perfectly by the essence of the tomato.
All in all, I think I did pretty well.
I'm still very much looking to having Sherry back tomorrow, though.