Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lent: A Challenge in Not Eating Meat

For Lent I'm not eating meat on Fridays and on holy days.

As many of you know, I love meat. A lot.

True to my midwestern upbringing we eat meat and potatoes for almost every meal, as you probably have seen.

And the fallout from being on the Atkin's Diet is I have a fear of pasta.

But I've been pleasantly surprised by the pasta dishes I've started making during Lent.

On Ash Wednesday I cooked up my own spaghetti sauce thanks to a Cook's Illustrated recipe from May 1, 1997. (Old school and delicious!)

I was really pleased with the consistency, texture, and flavor. It's definitely one I'll use again and again.

I've been thinking a lot about the connection between food and religion. But I still have more thinking to do before I can post anything intelligent.

In the meantime, I hope you have as much success with this recipe as I did.


1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes or 1 can whole tomatoes ( not packed in puree or sauce)
2 medium cloves garlic , peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves (about 8 leaves)
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3/4 pound pasta


  1. 1. If using diced tomatoes, go to step 2. If using whole tomatoes, drain and reserve liquid. Dice tomatoes either by hand or in workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade (three or four 1/2-second pulses). Tomatoes should be coarse, with 1/4-inch pieces visible. If necessary, add enough reserved liquid to tomatoes to total 2 cups.

  2. 2. Process garlic through garlic press into small bowl; stir in 1 teaspoon water (see note above). Heat 2 tablespoons oil and garlic in 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  3. 3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente in large pot of boiling, salted water. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water; drain pasta, and transfer it back to cooking pot. Mix in reserved cooking water, sauce, and remaining oil and salt; cook together over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and serve immediately.

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