Monday, 11 January 2010

Past pasta

Tonight I'm trying something different. The heavy (if fat-light) meals of wartime are starting to daunt me after years of living on a much more Mediterranean diet, so I was pleased when CJBS suggested trying to adapt a standard Italian meal to rations.

Pasta (called macaroni or spaghetti rather than pasta) was not uncommon, at least in the cities, in the 1940s. It was rationed, but relatively generously, I suspect to restrict the use of eggs and the import of wheat. So I've got a bag of good pasta on points for use tonight; spirals rather than the plainer shapes of the time.

For the sauce, I was at last able to get tomatoes, but I'm using pre-strained ones (passata) anyway. I've started with a chopped onion added to a knob of melted marg and allowed to soften. Then I've added plenty of mushrooms and some powdered garlic - again available in the 1940s but rarely used by cautious Brits! - and left to cook slowly covered. That produces a nice mushroomy liquid, to which I'll add a splash of red wine, then thicken with some gravy powder. Then to add the strained tomatoes and leave to cook slowly, perhaps with a ladleful of stock.

While that's cooking, I'm going to see what version of garlic bread can be made with ordinary brown bread, little fat and some garlic powder. That'll be the hard part!

1 comment:

Kif............ said...

This was a really excellent meal and continues the run of my not feeling once yet that we are deprived of anything significant. This was low fat, high taste and plenty of fully filling bulk. The addition of a bit of onion and some mushrooms added to the remarkably exotic flavour for what is a basic pasta dish today.. Though at the time pasta was something of a luxury, probably available only in limited big city outlets.. I suspect it was unknown in backwater and indeed mainstream Britain. The 'home made' garlic bread was a triumph. Even with restricted fat available it had that succulent moist feel one so likes in garlic bread. This one is a hit!