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Cut or twirl and twirl and twirl and twirl?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tonight on Facebook I posted the question "Am I the only adult that still cuts their spaghetti?". Oddly enough, my question generated quite a bit of discussion. I'm not used to this; I see other people's clever posts & the many responses they conjure up & always wish I were so clever! Here's what I found. My cousin's wife reported that he (my cousin) cuts his pasta; so we got to thinking that maybe it was a family thing. Evidently not, read on. One friend admitted to being a cutter until her husband made such fun of her that she quit cutting; now she twirls and twirls and twirls and twirls & then it still hangs out of her mouth & gets all over her face. A mother says that she cuts...for her six-year-old! One oh-so-clever friend told me there is no need to cut when you just break the pasta in small pieces before boiling them. Another, who must have jewel of a husband, says he often cuts hers up for her! (She also admitted to loving it when he does this because it is so much easier to eat! How sweet!) More people admitted to cutting their spaghetti than I ever would have anticipated; not that my "study" was scientific or anything!

I am sure the Italians would have a fit at me cutting my spaghetti into bite size pieces. I don't just half-heartedly cut my spaghetti, mind you; first I cut across really well, making sure to cover all the noodles with at least one stroke of the knife, then I turn my plate 90º & make several more knife strokes, lastly, just to make sure I haven't missed any noodles, I turn my plate 45º and do another round of cuts. This assures nice bite-size spaghetti. This whole discussion got started because I made spaghetti for dinner & as I was cutting mine, I thought how if Sean were home, he would make fun of me cutting my pasta. But as it was, he had a gig & I was eating alone; well, not really alone, if you count my virtual friends. With Sean working I normally wouldn't have made a "real" dinner, but since I have been cooking a lot for clients lately, I haven't gotten to eat as much "real" food, for example, last night's dinner, once I got home, unpacked & relaxed, consisted of a piece of cinnamon toast, so I decided to cook some dinner for us tonight. (Whew, that was a run-on sentence...sorry!)

Eventually Sean got home & was very excited to find spaghetti waiting for him. He thought tonight's spaghetti was especially good. I don't follow a recipe & I never make it the same. However, I will share with you my general recipe for spaghetti sauce. I make ours using TVP (texturized vegetable protein); you can use whatever you like: meat, tofu, beans, mushrooms, what have you. In a glass bowl I mixed 1 cup of TVP with 1 cup of water, covered it tightly with my new friend, Glad Press 'n Seal & heated in the microwave for 5 minutes. Let me make a disclaimer, I very rarely use plastic wrap & even less frequently do I use plastic storage bags; I try to take care of the world we live in the best I can. However, there are occasions, especially in my profession as a personal chef, that I need to use plastic wrap & I must say that Glad has done a great job!

Succulent Spaghetti

1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup TVP, reconstituted
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
small can tomato paste
1 1/2 T.garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1 T. dried oregano
1/2 T. dried basil
1 t. dill
1 t. white pepper
2 small pinches cayenne pepper
1/2 T. smoked paprika
1 T. sea salt
1/2 t. thyme
2-3 dashes balsamic vinegar
1 T. sugar (I use raw)
1 1/2 T. vegan butter

Saute the onion in olive oil until soft, add the garlic & saute for about a minute. Add the crushed tomato, diced tomato, tomato paste & your "filler of choice"--in my case, the TVP. Mix this well. Add all your seasonings, except the butter. Mix well. Add water if too thick. Let simmer while your pasta cooks. Right before serving stir the butter into the sauce. (Sorry I didn't get a picture tonight; my photographer was working!)

Sometimes I add spinach to this, or I saute mushrooms with the onions. I particularly like serve with broccoli on the side & let the broccoli mix in with the sauce a bit. I always toast a piece of whole wheat bread slathered with vegan butter & a sprinkled with a generous amount of garlic powder. That way, when your bowl is almost empty, you can use the bread to get the very last bit of sauce!

No matter whether you are a spaghetti cutter or twirler, this is an easy, delicious recipe that is less expensive than buying bottled sauce. Enjoy!

posted by Jamie the Foodie
10:13 PM


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