It’s rainy, it’s cold outside and even though the grocery store isn’t all that far away…ehhh, no thanks. So me and the future Mrs. Not Chef Jared are sitting at home trying to come up with something for dinner. Really we’re trying to talk ourselves into finding a way to use the random crap in our kitchen to make something work together. So let’s see what we’ve got!

  • Old-ish tomatoes – probably not good for a salad but cookable
  • A tremendous amount of fresh spinach from my earlier Saag Paneer kerfuffle
  • Six different heads of garlic each missing 1-2 cloves – *shakes head*
  • Tin of anchovies – YES ALL DAY EVERY DAY
  • Rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano – includes roughly one centimeter of usable cheese!
  • Oddly nice pasta – kind of a Buccatini type pasta

Not exactly your A-List of ingredients, but it quickly becomes obvious where we’re going with this, let’s make some sauce! I did some cursory googlin’ for a recipe that includes chopped, whole tomatoes, spinach, garlic and anchovies and found the universe oddly lacking. Not that there’s a total black whole, but nothing that really got me pumped up. So I made the executive decision to wing it:

That’s right – f**k, we’ll do it live!

So the plan is as follows – chop everything, sautee garlic and anchovies until the apartment smells like salty, fishy heaven and then add tomatoes and spinach to finish it off. I tried to keep it simple since I’m not following any recipes, I’m just an untethered kite blowing in the wind.  But I must say, it turned out pretty well:

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Pitfalls: As I said, without a recipe to follow (blame), I kept things preeeeetty basic. One thing that’s worth keeping in mind is that there is roughly four seconds between when garlic goes from beautifully golden brown to sad and burnt. When exactly this four second period will occur is tough to say, but experience has taught me that it’s always when you look away at something else.

The Verdict: I really enjoyed this dish. While it certainly doesn’t include any complex layers of flavor delicately blooming on your palate, it was delicious. It’s salty (thank you anchovies and cheese!), rich (thanks again anchovies, you’re the best!), but still pretty light with the fresh tomatoes and spinach.

If you’re looking for something easy and quick, but still satisfying, this is a great way to go. Not to mention, if you don’t use the whole tin of anchovies in the sauce you can just eat them whole when nobody’s looking! (our little secret, anchovies…)


Not Chef Jared

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