The time-honored way of showing love in an Italian family is to offer food. Whether we're celebrating, mourning, happy, sad--if we're breathing, there's a table filled with great things to eat. Life's too short, so eat what you love and love what you eat.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
FUSILLI AI TRE FORMAGGI
I would gladly eat pasta 3 or 4 times a week if I were a size 6. Unfortunately, that is not the case and so I don't make pasta nearly as often as Larry or I would like. I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, my mother didn't dish out pasta using a one-cup measure. With apologies to Weight Watchers, one cup is a tease. I decided to try a recipe for a very simple, quick tomato sauce that could be used to make a very simple, quick meat sauce and decided to make it on a weekend since weigh in day is on Wednesday (devious, aren't I?). I still have no sense of smell or taste, but I can tell you the different textures were incredible. Larry has to be my nose these days and he said this dish was very good. I made the sauce and then the meat sauce and then baked the casserole all in the same pot, my Dutch oven. The sauce is very thin, but the pasta quickly absorbs it and I suspect when it is reheated--we barely ate a fourth of it--it will require no additional sauce. As is my custom, I made double the sauce. Hey, if you're going to dirty a pot, make it worth your while. Buon appetito!
THE SAUCE 3 28 oz cans San Marzano tomatoes (or, 5 lbs ripe plum tomatoes) 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced (2/3 - 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups dry red wine (like a Pinot Noir)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs sea salt (or to taste)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 large fresh basil leaves
Puree the canned tomatoes, then strain them to remove seeds and pulp; set aside (if using fresh tomatoes, core them, cut into chunks, and then puree and strain)
Heat the olive oil in the Dutch oven and saute the onion over medium heat about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute about 2 minutes more, being careful NOT to let the garlic brown. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low, and simmer about 30 minutes.
FUSILLI WITH THREE CHEESES CASSEROLE
1/2 lb ground pork 1/2 lb ground beef
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups of tomato sauce (recipe above)
1 lb fusilli
1 cup cubed Fontina cheese
1 8-oz ball of fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded fresh spinach
Brown the ground pork and beef in the olive oil in a Dutch oven or similar pot; season with salt and pepper. Stir in 2 cups of the tomato sauce and simmer uncovered about 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the fusilli about 6 minutes (that's about half the required cooking time; they'll be very firm). Drain and transfer to the Dutch oven. Stir in the Fontina, half the mozzarella, and the Parmesan cheeses over low heat. Off the heat, stir in the spinach and the remaining 2 cups of tomato sauce.
Bake the casserole covered to 20 minutes. Remove the cover, scatter the remaining half of the mozzarella over the top, and continue to bake for 15 minutes more.
My freezer now holds a large container of the basic tomato sauce and a large container of the meat sauce. Guess what's for dinner Monday night? Good thing Larry loves pasta because I would bet on their being at least one lunch there, too.