I know what you’re thinking: where is dinner? I haven’t been eating dinner lately. I have a new quest in life at the moment, and though I know you should fortify yourself before any quest and run a few miles, I have no desire for anything but short sweet bursts of pleasure. In short, sugar.
To keep my family happy I made spaghetti with meatballs, which is easy enough to keep a family happy with for a few nights even, especially if you brown off a few choice pieces of osso bucco, sausage, and even a few chicken thighs to throw in the sauce along with the meatballs. While you are madly making sugar creations to eat alone in the middle of the night or share (maybe) with unknown guests that are lured to the door from the irresistible smells of butter, sugar and flour wafting through the hallways of the building, your sauce can be bubbling away on the stove with a hardly a stir for hours.
For the sauce, find a good butcher and buy a few pieces of meat that need to be gently tenderized by long cooking, a few chicken thighs, the best sausage he will part with, and a freshly ground mix of pork, beef and veal. Get a pound of ground and a pound or even two combined, of the others.
Season with kosher salt and brown all the odd bits off in olive oil. No cheating. They need to be brown for flavor. Remove from the pan. Finely dice an onion, season with salt, and caramelize it ever so gently in a little more olive oil and salt. Add a sprig of rosemary, one of parley and one of thyme. Add the chopped meat, and cook over medium heat until there is not one trace of pink. Add 2 28 ounce cans of whole canned San Marzano tomatoes, that have been squished through your fingers first until there are no large clumps. Add about 1/2 cup of water and simmer the sauce for at least three or four hours, adding more tiny spills of water as is necessary. Everything should be hardly distinguishable from anything else when it’s done. Taste for salt.
Cook your pasta until seriously al dente, drain well, keeping a little of the water in case you need to thin out the sauce. Leave the big meat bits in the pan to serve later as your second course. Put the pasta back in its pan and dress with the sauce, letting the two bubble together for a minute. Finish with grated parmesan and a swirl of your absolute best olive oil.
For the cookies that I fall in love with every time I make them:
Combine 1 3/4 cups of flour with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. In a separate bowl combine 1/2 cup of room temperature butter, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 large egg. Mix well. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and then wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze until needed. Roll out to 1/8 inch and cut out using a biscuit cutter, into circles. Bake on a greased sheet at 350 degrees until they are not quite golden. Cool and sandwich with your favorite preserves.