Guess what! I am blogging from my couch! Usually I'm blogging from my uncomfortable computer chair in our home office but today I'm not. Today I am blogging from my couch! You see, friday was my 29th birthday and Steve really pays attention. He listens to me when I complain about how uncomfortable I am in the office. He really hears me when I say life would be so much better if I had a laptop so I could blog from our living room. These were not birthday hints mind you. I was 100% complaining! I really didn't expect him to go out and buy me one so you can imagine how excited I was when I opened the perfectly wrapped gift (you should know that Steve is an awesome gift wrapper and often gives in to my begging and wraps all my Christmas gifts!)and saw DELL on the box! So here I am, blogging, from my couch...well club chair. I guess I should get to it already!
When I was a child my mom liked to make this version of Macaroni and Peas. I say this version because my Aunt Maryann taught me how to make a "White" version when I wanted to venture away from recipes involving red sauce. You see, my Mom always was a great cook and she made a mean Sunday Sauce and there was no doubt from her cooking that she liked her red sauce. Her meatloaf was made with a red sauce (it was like a loaf shaped meatball), her stuffed peppers were made with a red sauce (meatball inside a pepper)and her macaroni and peas were made with a red sauce...you get the idea. Well yesterday I got the craving for my mom's version of macaroni and peas. I can't believe that when I was a child I actually complained about this. It wasn't that I didn't like it, I loved it, but I was bit by the culinary bug and I needed a little versatility. I'd like to think that now that I'm all grown up I have taught my mom a thing or two she didn't know about cooking. She taught me all she knew and as I learn I try to teach her. Am I right, Mom? Anyway, I'm really going off topic here. This is a delicious and simple dish. Another one that you can pull right out of the pantry as my mother often did. So thank you mom for teaching me to make something that 15 years I'm still craving.
Mom's Macaroni and Peas
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful fresh basil, torn (use frozen or dried if you don't have fresh)
1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 can LeSeueur Peas (substitute frozen if you like)
salt and pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper, to taste
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. romano cheese
1 pound small pasta such as medium shells, ditalini, etc.
extra virgin olive oil
Saute onion and garlic in extra virgin olive oil until soft. Add crushed pepper and dried or frozen basil (if using). Add tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and sugar. Let cook for about 25 -30 minutes. Add peas. If you're using canned peas use the juice from the can to thin out the sauce. (This should be a loose sauce but not soupy. Use as much or as little liquid as you like. If using frozen peas add some of the starchy pasta water to thin out the sauce.) Let cook for another 10 minutes on low
to combine flavor of peas with sauce. Add romano cheese, taste and adjust seasoning.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Toss pasta with sauce adding more pasta water if it's too thick. Top with grated cheese.