Monday, July 4, 2016

Yankee Doodle Dandy Easy Pasta Sauce

Happy Fourth of July! The day we celebrate all-American things like independence, fireworks, barbecues, and ... pasta?

Yes, in my Summer of Italian... Food Porn, even the most American of holidays has an Italian food connection. And of course it's pasta.


In the 1700's young British men of the wealthy classes traveled to Italy to polish off their formal education and to make them more worldly. On this so called Grand Tour they hiked the ruins of Rome, explored the pleasures of Venice, and ate the latest pasta dishes of the Boot peninsula, which in the 18th century, was macaroni.

Returning to England, these young men were enamored with all things Italian: the rip-roaring history; the high fashion with tall, decorated wigs; the classical architecture; and the delicious food... like macaroni. To be fair, anything would taste delicious to young Britons raised on Marmite and haggis. But I digress. Other older, less worldly Britons liked England being English and derided these internationally-minded young men as foppish dandies before the label "foppish dandy", existed so they took to calling them "Macaronis". Sort of like how we call today's instagram-ing, bacon-loving population under 35, "Hipsters".

In the 1700's, the British in Britain looked down on American colonists as being uneducated, rough-around-the-edges and home-spun. I mean, who did these colonists think they were trying to fight a war against the mighty British army? Therefore, during the American Revolution, British troops made up a song to make fun of this uncouth American.

Yankee Doodle went to town
Riding on a pony
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it Macaroni

Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle Dandy 
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.

The song posits that the American Yankee thinks he can be a classy Macaroni just by putting a feather in his cap. How ridiculous! If he wants to be a Macaroni, he needs to go to Italy and see those sights, wear that fashion, eat that delicious food! 

When the American soldiers heard the song they LOVED it, dismissing the derision and embracing the plucky, rough-around-the-edges Yankee who took on, and beat the grand British army for American independence! 

In honor of the daring pasta-loving attitude of our Yankee Doodle I have an Easy Pasta Sauce recipe for your next pasta meal of linguine or fettuccine (but not macaroni!). Of course it has tomatoes, which are very American:

Yankee Doodle Easy Pasta Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove of garlic (chopped fine)
1/2 a large onion (white, yellow or red chopped fine)
28 ounces (794 grams) tomatoes or tomato sauce (I use a sauce can from Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup full/heavy cream (for whipping)
Parmesan cheese (grated)

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the onions; once the onions are soft (3-4 minutes), add the garlic (2 more minutes). Add the tomatoes or tomato sauce. Once this is warm (2-3 minutes), add the cream. Stir thoroughly (2-3 minutes). Pour over freshly boiled and drained pasta. Sprinkle with a spoonful of Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. 

Buon Appetite, Yankee Macaronis!

Finally, in honor of this American Day of Independence I continue my annual tradition of reading the (surprisingly short!) Declaration of Independence today. Here is a link to this bold Declaration of Independence that was signed in Philadelphia on this day 240 years ago. 

Happy Birthday America!