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The Unnatural Cook

a chronicle of weekly meal plans from someone who can't just throw a meal together

Last night was another first. It was my first planned, unplanned meal. It was the day I left intentionally blank on the meal plan to be inspired while shopping. I have to admit I didn’t stray too far from what I know but I was in a very specific mood: I wanted to make a pink sauce, like vodka sauce, but with sausage.

It came out exactly the way I wanted it to; I was so pleased. I sauteed onions in olive oil, then removed the skin from five Italian sausages. Four of them I broke up with my fingers into small pieces. I wanted it to be like that great sausage you get on some pizza – not perfect slices of cardboardy tasting meat, but irregularly shaped, heavenly little morsels. The fifth sausage I crumbled, like ground meat, to thicken the sauce. I browned the sausage with the onions and then added vodka, cooked it down, and added more. After the vodka was mostly cooked off, I added one can of crushed tomatoes and some kosher salt. I served the sauce over fusilli with parmesan & hot red pepper flakes.

Lately I’ve been adding spices, not with a measuring spoon, but with my fingers. I’ve been getting a feel for how much I put in. Yesterday, when I wrote about the idea of using my senses when I cook, I left out the sense of touch. I think feeling the ingredients is as important as tasting, seeing and smelling them. Ripping sausage, pinching and sprinkling salt, helps me, somehow, to know instinctively how much to use. I honestly can’t believe how much my cooking practices have changed in two months, just by writing about them. Never has being wrong been so pleasurable.

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