Sunday, October 25, 2009

What I Made for Dinner: October 25, 2009

Pasta puttanesca and grilled chicken breasts.

Something kind of exciting happened tonight! Our *insert favorite expletive here* oven caught fire.

I turned on my oven to preheat for roasting the tomatoes for this sauce. One of the heating elements started to spark and emit little flames. I turned off the oven--and it kept on sparking and flaming. This thrilling action traveled all around the oval heating element, leaving charred metal as it went.

We watched it, horrified. Chuck pulled out the fire extinguisher, but I thought it better not to open the oven door. It's a sealed box, right? Fire can't get out of it, right? We debated and the kids and the dog went outside. Within a few minutes, it had burned itself out and we didn't have to decide what to do, other than calling the GE repair hotline.

So. No oven tonight, or for the next several days at least. No roasted tomatoes for me!

The pasta puttanesca was fantastic anyway, though. (I've never made it before. Josh and I got the idea to try it from The Bad Beginning, in which three orphans prepare pasta puttanesca to appease their evil guardian. That Lemony Snicket knows his pasta sauces.)

Pasta puttanesca

12 plum tomatoes, halved
1 T brown sugar
2 t kosher salt
2-3T olive oil
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. red pepper flakes
16 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1-2 T capers

Sprinkle the cut tomato halves with the sugar and kosher salt. If the oven is working, roast them at 375 for 30-40 minutes. If not, put them in a pot with one T olive oil and the red wine. Simmer them until they are very soft, about 30 minutes.

In a skillet, heat one or two T olive oil. Saute the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes for about 8 minutes, until they are very soft but not browned. Add them to the tomatoes. (If the oven was working and you roasted the tomatoes, add the tomatoes to the skillet, instead.) Add the olives and capers and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer until the sauce has reduced slightly to a pleasant thickness.

Serve over whole-wheat pasta.

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