You are thinking this is going to be a post about alcohol. It could be. It’s not. But since we’re on the topic of sauce, why don’t you grab a glass of wine and cozy up to enjoy. Today I am talking about real live sauce, pasta-topper, if you will.
One great delight is my weekly CSA drop-off day. To know me is to know I really get my jollies on fresh fruits and vegetables. Well, we’re getting to the end of the season here and last week I found myself with about 8 billion Roma tomatoes all on the verge of spoilage. Had it been 8 billion multi-colored heirloom cherries, I probably could have put them away as those little guys are like candy, but Romas are famous for not having a whole lot of taste.
My intuition was suggesting a large-scale slow roast. Most things are better when they’ve been in the oven a few hours so I sliced those Romas in half and threw them in the oven. The smell it put into my apartment would have been enough to make the simple endeavor worth it, but the taste was certainly nothing to sneeze at. They went from bland and lifeless to mind-blowing in just a matter of three short hours.
But then what? I was ready to eat the roasted tomatoes right out of the pan, but then another stroke of brilliance: sauce. I would make my very own sauce. I got some help from Mark Bittman on this one and proceeded to do all of the chef-y things like sauteeing onion and throwing in red wine and then proceeding to reduce the whole works. I cooked with wine, I reduced a sauce. I mean, I was a regular David Adjey (a delight for another post).
But what was going on here was not so much a pleasure in making my dinner as a joy in the act of creating. I really like to make stuff. Pasta sauce, yes, since I am now the resident expert, but also things I don’t consume like cupcakes, collages, and poetry. You don’t have to be a gallery artist or a Food Network chef to create. Look at all the interesting things people make, little kids for example. God himself is the ultimate Creator and He has created us in his image—with both the impulse and the ability to produce and reproduce and create. More than my pasta sauce, it is that impulse and that gift that really excites me.
But I have to say it, I really did rock that sauce. After the fancy chef moves, I added mushrooms, zucchini, and more onion. I put the water on to boil and in 7 minutes I had a little brown rice penne action. I sliced the fresh mozzarella, applied the much-anticipated sauce, whipped out my Microplane for a dusting of Pecorino Romano and bam! The dinner bell was ringin’.
I sat down to my creation and I’ll just put it this way: my sense of delight could not have been greater than if I myself had invented pasta, or perhaps the entire nation of Italy, or the world. As I was cleaning up my dishes I’m thinking, “I am Mario Bataldi. I am the literal goddess of pasta sauce creation.” Well, okay, the creativity shouldn’t lead to wanton ego-tripping, but it should lead to immense wonder that amazing things can be made on this earth and that we can make them.
So what do you create? God is a creative God and we were made in his image, therefore a very large part of being a human on this earth, and glorifying God, is exercising the creative muscle and drawing upon that creative spirit. What do you make? What do you want to make? What’s stopping you?
This girl may not have much, but I think G. Love says it best: