It was late last night, time for dinner, no meat in the house, and we'd already had tortillas with beans, the end of the chicken, cheese, and tomatillo salsa for lunch after a morning full of soccer and precipitation. While we have a ways to get to get through all our tortillas, I wasn't feeling like more Mexican for dinner.
I found this marinara recipe, since we had several fresh tomatoes we needed to use. Dinner was really basic, just spaghetti, the sauce, garlic toast, and salad.
During the dinner, we had the following conversation:
Rob: Brynlee, do you notice anything different about dinner tonight? Something about what we're eating? Or actually, more about what we're not eating?
Brynlee: Ashlee's gone.
Rob: And we usually eat Ashlee for dinner?
Brynlee: Oh. Let's see. There's no meatballs.
Of course, when Brynlee said dinner was different due to a lack of meatballs, that's not to say we always have meatballs. We have chicken more often than we have meatballs, but the meatballs would be the obvious type of meat to go with spaghetti.
So she did pick up on it pretty quickly when asked about it but I don't know if she'd have noticed there was no meat if I hadn't asked. We had some Swiss Chard Curry last week with no meat in it, and no one noticed. I'm reminded of the first time we had veggie burritos, and we weren't allowed to look inside the burritos until we had tasted them, presumably because if we'd known it was just zucchini and other vegetables, we would have refused to try them.
Another memory brought back when putting together this sauce was of the huge stock pot full of spaghetti sauce that would simmer all day after harvesting the tomatoes, onions, and various herbs and spices from our garden in the fall and then canned or frozen.
Here is the recipe as I found it online:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cups (about 3 large) peeled, chopped tomatoes
1 can(6 oz.)no-salt-added tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Cook, uncovered, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tomatoes are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes; stir occasionally. Cool 5 minutes.
Place cooled tomato mixture in blender jar 1 or more cups at a time. Cover and blend at stir about 30 seconds after each addition. Blend at puree about 30 seconds. Return mixture to saucepan. Simmer over low heat about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over fresh pasta.
We didn't have any green pepper or fennel seed, so I just left those out. I had tomato paste, but I just never got around to putting it in. I added some parsley, and every time I tasted it I added more oregano. I dipped the tomatoes for 10-15 seconds in the boiling spaghetti to loosen up the skins for easy peeling, then just quartered the tomatoes and smashed them up in the pot while they cooked. I didn't run it through the blender, just served it extra chunky.