My six year old daughter has a taste for the spicy and the tart. Like most kids she also loves spaghetti but there the semblance ends. Mine likes to douse her pasta with a liberal shot of Tabasco.
I often wonder where she got that habit. She and I often cook together and she enjoys helping me while following everything I do with a watchful eye. I know she is absorbing the many techniques of cooking and acquiring a feel for the flavors.
We both enjoy cutting vegetables and using fresh herbs from the garden. This year we planted tomatoes together and she is getting a feel for the fruits of her labors as we water and pick ripe tomatoes through the season.
The other day we made a delightful arrabbiata sauce together. We had more fun picking the tomatoes and the herbs than I could have imagined.
Making arrabbiata sauce with my daughter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 3 tbsp
Crushed chili pepper flakes – 1/4 tsp
Diced sweet onions – 1/2 cup
Diced garlic – 1 clove
Red bell pepper, diced – 1
Chopped Ripe Tomato – 2 cups
Fresh mint leaves – 4
Fresh oregano – 1 sprig
Fresh Thyme – 1 sprig
Sauté sweet onions and red peppers in olive oil with garlic and fresh herbs. Add mushrooms and tomatoes and a bit of tomato paste to thicken it as needed. Fresh mint, oregano, and thyme make for a delicious bouquet but dried herbs may be used.
Heat the oil and add the crushed pepper flakes. Add the onions and the red peppers and sauté till the onions clear and the peppers just begin to caramelize. Add the garlic and tomatoes in quick sequence. Add the herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer covered for a few minutes and add a bit of tomato paste if you like a thicker sauce.
Serve over your favorite pasta with your favorite cheese and a sprig of fresh herbs on the side.