Special Sunday Spaghetti
Updated: Jul 21
I've been regularly counting how many days it has been since we trapped ourselves in our homes. Some days it feels like forever and others feel like they've passed so quickly.
As of July 5, it has been 4 months since I had been into the office. I thought that if there was ever a time for a small get together, now would be the time. Jaren and I have been working together so much lately and he's managed to go through the last few months mostly alone at his apartment. So, we took it upon ourselves to have a nice Sunday together - with homemade spaghetti.
Before his arrival, I prepared just a few items...
The Sauce -
2 Large Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
2 Cans of Whole San Marzano Tomatoes, crushed by hand
Parmesan Cheese Rind
Bunch of Basil on the Stem
2 Sprigs of Oregano
1 Cup Red Wine
Salt & Pepper
I began by sautéing the onions and garlic in some olive oil. I let them go for a while, allowing them to gently caramelize. I added the tomato paste and mixed ti in, allowing it to cook out before adding the liquids. I slowly crushed the san Marzano tomatoes (a sweeter tomato variety) into the pot, removing the tough stem in the middle. I added in the rind and herbs. Make sure to leave these in large pieces so they can be easily removed later.
After the sauce simmered for 10-15 minutes, I added the red wine and turned the heat up so I could cook off some fo the wine. I quickly thereafter poured in the stock and once boiling, turned the sauce to a simmer for nearly 2 hours with the lid cracked open. Although it is important to season along the way, I knew that my sauce was going to reduce so I made sure to lightly season my sauce and taste for seasoning afterwards.
The Meatballs -
1 pound each of ground pork, ground beef and ground veal
Panko Breadcrumbs soaked in milk
Salt & Pepper
2 Cracked Eggs
I mixed the mixture to ensure that the meats had combined. I wouldn't want to have a meatball that was half beef or all pork. Using the ⅓ cup dry measuring spoon to create even-sized meatballs. I formed them with my hands and managed about 16 meatballs. In a large skillet, I heated some olive oil so that I could shallow fry each meatball and get a nice, crispy sear on each side.
I only cooked the meatballs that I wanted to eat for the day. The remaining ones were par-frozen before being placed into one plastic baggie together. Once I seared each meatball, I nestled them into the tomato sauce and let them cook all the way through.
The Pasta Dough -
I'm not sure if it's the best recipe or if the Pasta Gods would look down at me in shame, but I prefer a semolina based dough - this one from Williams Sonoma. What I've been able to do before suddenly seemed so hard. I made a HUGE mess just 1 hour before Jaren arrived. I cracked my flour volcano and had water, oil and raw egg flying all over the place. I quickly grabbed my bench scraper and went to work combining everything before I had to massive floor cleaning. Eventually, the dough came together and I was able to get it resting in the fridge for the 30 minutes.
The Spiked Sorbet -
Even though Talal and I were out very late the night before, I still managed to get him to pull down the ice cream machine and stick the bowl in the freezer. So, once I'd finished my savory prep-work, I was able to quickly blend together frozen cherries, sugar, frozen blueberries and a healthy spike of Grand Marnier. I plopped them into the machine and lovingly placed my container of sorbet in the freezer while Jaren and I enjoyed lunch.
Once Jaren came, we sat back and relaxed with a glass of champagne with a splash of peach whiskey (his absolute favorite). We rolled pasta and ate lunch at the table, windows open and music playing the background. We took our sorbet to the driveway and listened to our music. After sweating for 15 minutes, we rushed inside and took shelter in the air conditioning.
If I may say.. I'm thankful that this period has given us the opportunity to have days like these. Although they are few and far between, I've enjoyed the pace and the ability to reconnect with people.