Alex is really good at making use of all the spare/going bad veggies in the fridge (there's a lot of prolific dumpster divers living in MGTVLE, plus there's 7 of us and only one fridge) before they're totally uselessly expired. This sometimes frustrates me (because I really don't think we have to put EVERYTHING in one dish just cos it's there and the chances are that noone will use xyz thing before it's too late) but sometimes it works well, and it works especially well when we have a couple of "stock" meals that we like to make quite regularly that have very basic guidelines and lots of room to move with, so the meal can be as simple or as heavy as you like/require, based on the likelyhood of chucking out some old veggies.
Red Emma is a pasta dish that has incredibley loose rules. Which should be so, considering the dish's namesake, couldn't be more appropriate!
The "rules" for Red Emma are: at least one chargrilled red capsicum in the sauce. Hopefully the chargrilled capsicum is a stand-out feature of the sauce for the pasta, otherwise it's good to put in other red things (chillies and paprika and tomato paste are smiled upon!).
This version made use of a very intriguing vegetarian "roast sausage" I found in a asian grocery store on Marrickville Rd that seems to be made completely out of soy. I've found the sausages to be almost overwhelmingly pork-like (the only meat that really repels me unless it is in the form of salami) but it found it's place well used in this pasta sauce. I don't often get the chance to cook with sausage (most vege sausages are wheat laden) so felt a bit at a loss with these guys and took a chance for Monday night's dinner..
Fried the sausages (2 small sized sausages cut into circles) with lots of garlic and mushrooms, balsamic and tamari. added chillies, tomato paste and one large charred capsicum, skin peeled off. to make it more 'saucey' I added a thickening mix of cornflour and water, let the sauce come together and added a bit more tomato paste before throwing in a roughly chopped bunch of basil.
This turned out pretty well. Alex was impressed with my soy-heavy sausages' flavour and said in this sauce they smelled/tasted like Csabai sausage!! Which is disgusting if you think about it too long but is really impressive, suitabley european for miss Emma G.