Thursday, December 16, 2010

Homemade Tonnarelli in a Smothered Onions Sauce

Tonnarelli in a Smothered Onion Sauce and Green Beans with Yellow Peppers, Tomatoes, and Chile Pepper
Pictured above are the products of what was certainly one most productive co-cooking experiences Anna and I have had together. Homemade pasta, a smothered onion sauce, and some long simmered green beens... all completed in time for a 7:30ish weeknight dinner... not something I'd want to do every night, but it can be impressive what two people cooking together can accomplish. All of the recipes came from Marcella Hazan's wonderful book that, hey, could be a great holiday gift for any cook's in your life.

I'll note that our tonnarelli is a wee bit thinner and raggedy than the classical version, but whaddya want? We're still new to the whole pasta machine thing... it's all a learning experience... and it's was delicious regardless. So there. You can find the recipe for the smothered onion sauce here... where "sauce" seems like perhaps too strong of a word: it's basically caramelized onions. The twist being that you sweat them for an hour in butter and oil before starting the caramelization, which gives them a lovely rich flavor... and when you add in the flavors of the white wine that's simmered off at the end, you get some nice complexity.

Unfortunately I don't have access to the recipe for the green beans at the moment (if you have Hazan's book they are: green beans with yellow peppers, tomatoes, and chili pepper)... but they came out pretty well even though we were using some bargain basement old and sad winter green beans. The new life experience with this dish was that she had us peel the yellow pepper, which I had never heard of doing... and you know what? It was a revelation. Sure, it's a bit of a PITA (though not really that hard), but it seems that if there is any long simmering going on, your peppers are going to have a lot better texture if you take off the skin. I see it as basically the same reasoning for taking the skin off a tomato when they're going to be simmered...  that skin is never going to break down at all...  and it ends up as a heavy and slightly bitter distraction from the awesomeness of the tomato/pepper flesh...  which is what you are there for.

Anyway...  a good cooking effort that I'm proud of and that we learned a lot from: who knew coat hangers would serve such a great dual purpose of pasta drying?