When the chicas were younger, they favored Barbies. Their 4 boy cousins wereTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans. When the kids got together, they played "Teenage Mutant Ninja Barbies." No joke. The Barbies, being larger "action figures," served as airplanes; sometimes their removable heads doubled as bombs.
Raphael was my favorite Turtle, for more reasons than one. First off, he's not afraid to show his softer Ninja side. Second, his Italian namesake, the High Renaissance painter, was quite the talented dude. And, of course, Raphael the Turtle is also the Rebellious One.
One other reason, which has nothing to do with action figures or art: I've been to Italy several times, and my favorite trattoria sauce? Pasta Sauce Raphael.
I guess this is the round-about way of exclaiming over a recipe that is a Scribe Family standby. I favor the recipe made famous by Silver Palate Cookbook authors Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins. Lukins, who with her partner tried to bring gourmet meals to the masses, like me, died a couple of months ago. I publish this as a tribute to her bravery in the face of brain cancer & in hopes that as the weather changes for the worse this October, you, too will take comfort in this delightful comfort food.
The Silver Palate's Pasta Sauce Raphael
2 jars (6 oz. each) marinated artichoke hearts in oil
1/4-cup olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 tbs. minced garlic
1/2-tsp. dried oregano
1/2-teaspoon dried basil
1 tbs. coarsely ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes (we use more than a pinch)
1 can (28 oz.) plum tomatoes, with their juice
1/4-cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4-cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf variety) parsley
Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the marinade.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, garlic, oregano, basil, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, and reserved artichoke marinade. Saute over medium-low heat until the onions and garlic are soft and translucent, 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the artichoke hearts, Parmesan, and parsley. Stir gently, and simmer another 5 minutes.
6 portions; enough for 1 pound of pasta. Many favor tortellini with this sauce; the Scribes adore it with linguini or fettucini!