(the kitchen gets messy when the sauce is around.)

(pasta is tossed with the rustic sauce)

Is there a correlation between the messier the kitchen, the tastier the lunch? This sauce and mess may prove the relationship between the two ideas. Usually, I clean as I go, but today, all the ingredients, tools, pots and pans just jumped out of their prescribed spot and into the action. Can you blame them? I mean there was a rustic pasta sauce to be had and everything wanted to join in on the party.

Pasta sauce in India? I was talking to my dad about a holiday party he attended -- while he mingles, conversation got to the good stuff -- the makings of tomato sauce. His friend insisted on 1 carrot for sweetness (a la Mario Batali, my brother and no doubt, countless others) . . . I was inspired by their conversation!

It got me thinking -- tomatoes: check, garlic: check, carrot: check -- surely a quick pasta lunch was in order, for the sheer joy of eating Italian food and the fact that the flavors would be so so different than the Indian foods of the past few months. It turned out pretty tasty! I could eat just the sauce by the bowlful.

Quick Rustic Tomato Sauce
1 large red onion, chopped into small pieces
1 carrot, shredded
8 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c olive oil
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 pinch dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 handful olives, roughly chopped
splash of water (or red wine)

In a large sauce-pan, sweat the onions in olive oil for about 3 minutes on med-high heat. Next, add everything else, and give it a stir. Cook without top for 5 minutes, then another 5 minutes with top on. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with pasta or eat straight with a piece of bread. Even better the next day, as flavors meld and develop. Enjoy!

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