I have a dirty little secret. I know we all have those--whether we want to admit it or not. I'm almost too ashamed to admit it. Pause. But, here goes. I watch a bad show. It helps me realize I'm really not crazy. That there are other people out there who absolutely define crazy. People out there who put their lives front and center so that we, as viewers, can watch with shame and horror and then feel downright normal. Who are these people? They are The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
I know some of you may be take a higher road and don't watch reality tv. Or own a tv. Well, more power to you. Can someone come and take mine away? Because this really is like watching a train wreck. Do I recommend this show? No. Do I have a problem because I continue to watch it? Most likely. I always feel like I need an emotional shower and the need to pray after this show. Yet, I continue to watch it and then say to myself....'See, you're fine!' It's totally ok that you apologize before any new thing you serve to friends and family before they taste it. It's totally ok to have to physically force and rip open your tupperware drawer because everything in there is jammed in unorganized. It's totally ok to refuse to wear hosiery from February to November. It's totally ok to think the Mr. Clean magic eraser is really magical. And it's ok to be Dharma to your Greg.
Anyway, I digress. My point is that on this crazy show, the mother of all that is crazy is a character named Teresa. Who has an obnoxious life. And an obnoxious house. And an obnoxious husband. And seeminly obnoxious children. But, my goodness! It looks like her cooking is to die for! She has written two cookbooks so far (watch out Giada!). The first was 'Skinny Italian' and the second is 'Fabulicious' (because everything in her life is 'fabulous'--and you know, I think her attitude is awesome! I think we should all go around saying our lives are fabulous--whether we wear animal print and have a gold bathroom or not). Anyway, after an internet search of some of her recipes, I'm convinced that she may know what she's talking about. Her recipes make one salivate in anticipation. And they don't look that complicated! So, as a warning, I will be trying a few here and there.
Below is Teresa's 'snappy red sauce'. A basic (slightly spicy) red sauce that is a staple in her Italian family's home and the basis of many of her recipes. I tried it and really like it. And what's strange is that 2 year old ate it up by spoonfuls. It really is a fast and basic red sauce that is delicious on pasta. I'm considering using it on pizza dough. The recipe is a great jumping-off point for other additions. But it's very balanced and uses ingredients you would not have a hard time finding in your home or grocery store.
SNAPPY RED SAUCE*
Adapted from Fabulicious by Teresa Giudice
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes in thick puree
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and salt. (Teresa says that a little salt brings out the onion flavor.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with their puree and parsley and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook at a brisk simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Serve hot as a pasta sauce.
Makes 3 1/2 cups (enough for 1 pound of pasta)
*For my tastes, I prefer to add a little more salt and stir in about a teaspoon of olive oil at the end. Also, if I'm not serving it with a dish already using these same herbs, I would add some basil or oregano in with the parsley.