In the 1954 movie Sabrina – a family favorite – Audrey Hepburn returns from Paris with a cute haircut and the ability to cook anything, anywhere. “A souffle out of crackers, if necessary,” she says.
I play the same game, minus Audrey’s swell hair…and eyebrows…and Givenchy dress. Whatever.
For me cooking what’s available is an obsession, a challenge to produce a good meal without going to the store. This “something from nothing” zeal cracks Josie up, but what could be more annoying than running out for one tomato, or three eggs, or a carrot? What’s not around, I do without, and what is around, becomes dinner.
This means I’ve made breading from Special K, soup from three mushrooms, chicken without chicken. Last night I absolutely refused to go to the store, and flung open the fridge. Hmm…two cloves of marinated garlic…three kalamata olives…half a jar of marinara…four slices of genoa salami and a shred of parmesan.
A quick check in the pantry, and…yes! Spaghetti night.
Josie saw all the bits on the counter. “Dinner Impossible!”
“That’s what it is all right.” I was straining spaghetti, getting a pasta facial. “Ha! You know, that’s what we’ll call our show, right? Dinner Impossible.”
“Mom, that is a show.”
“On the Food Network. Dinner Impossible is a show.”
If Puttanesca and Amatriciana had a love child, this sauce would be it. Be generous with the marinara and flexible with the rest. Let your taste be your guide – and if your taste cooks like mine, have breath mints ready.
Spaghetti Impossible Sauce
good jar of marinara sauce (Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomato is my favorite)
marinated garlic cloves (available on “olive bars,” but fresh garlic is fine)
salt, pepper, and dried oregano or basil
spicy olive oil (if available)
Prep: thinly slice garlic cloves * pit and coarsely chop olives * cut salami into narrow strips or small chunks.
Warm a small amount of olive oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat. Saute garlic slices until just sizzling – not browned – then add salami and olives. Cook briefly, about 1-2 minutes, then lower heat and add marinara sauce. Simmer, stirring, over very low heat for about five minutes. Taste, then add salt, pepper, or other seasonings as desired.