You know those nights when you leave work late, wait for the train, and three consecutive trains come, and none of them are yours, and then you get out of the train, and it’s raining, and then you can’t find your keys, and then, for your troubles, you open a bottle of wine, and then forty-five minutes later, maybe you forget you never made dinner so you say: “Why don’t we just make _____.”
In our house, that _______ is often a plain, hearty, delicious tomato sauce.
Maybe you are reading this and are gettin’ all sassy, like “I already know how to make tomato sauce, Danielle. This is so silly. Why don’t you make something French next time and then I will be interested.” If you are thinking that, then I’m afraid you have found the wrong blog. On this blog, we’re often “just making” something. Because a LOT, our train is late and we lose our keys. Like, that is real. I lose my keys all the freaking time.
And then I make this. Here is what you will need: roughly 15 minutes and the ingredients below.
– 2 cans of crushed tomatoes
– 2 cloves of garlic
– one small, sweet onion
– a handful of the freshest basil you can find (the hater who knocked this dish from above probably grows their own. we don’t. whole foods grows it for us.)
– pasta, if that’s where you are at
– eggplant, if gluten is not where it’s at
Here’s what you do:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Start dicing: we want your eggplants cubed into nice, even little guys.
3. Throw those onto a pan with a healthy dose of olive oil, salt, pepper, and GARLIC POWDER. Lots of garlic powder. That is the nectar of the gods. When your oven is hot, put those bad boys in. Roasting these takes about 10 minutes.
5. In a medium sauce pan, brown your onions and garlic with a lot of olive oil. Do some heavy salt and pepper work as well.
6. When those are adequately browned, and your husband comes in asking what that delicious smell is (and you are feeling like a mother freaking CHAMPION), throw in the cans of tomatoes and basil, and then put some water on for your pasta. It’s almost game time.
7. Cook your pasta and drain it. I like mine al dente. Chris does not.
8. Your eggplant should be done, so take those out and place in a bowl.
That (with the sauce) is usually my dinner since I can’t have pasta. When we have people over, I make quinoa pasta and throw it in there too, so I can feel like one of the cool kids. Now, this is what Chris’ dinner looks like:
Pretty good for something we “just made”, right? On a weeknight at 9:30 p.m.?
Y’all, I’m telling you- this stuff is crack. It’s seeped into my brain.
It all begins at the family table.
I’m not going to judge you for eating out- give me a glass of wine and a bowl of pasta at our favorite neighborhood Italian spot any day of the freaking week– but there is something to this movement of eating at home, at your table, in your kitchen. I know how to make this dinner because my grandma used to make it for me whenever I came home from school. Yes, we know how to grind and puree our tomatoes for a sauce that will sit all Sunday while we are in church. But we also know how to make a similar dish- maybe not exactly the same (but still delicious)- in a fraction of the time.
Look: I cook, a lot. Every day. It’s not always good. This is not the case for Chris; he has never, ever, ever in his life made a less than stellar dish. Even his hot chocolate is knock-it-out-of-the-park-amazing. But me, I can’t really cook meat. Chris started doing it early in our relationship, and he’s just always manned that post. I am so bad at it, apparently, that he just confessed to me last night that I make “awful” taco meat (what does that even say about me, that the man who has eaten at Taco Bell is refusing my taco meat?).
And please for the love of GOD go buy Dinner: A Love Story so you will stop thinking I’m such a crazy person.