I am in Chicago right now. And I came to Chicago with a dream. A dream of cooking my family a big Italian Sunday dinner. My dream was made possible my many things, including the Frankies cookbook and Caputo's supermarket.
Do they have these where you live? Caputo's supermarkets? Absolutely every grocery you could possibly need seems to found within. Especially Italian groceries.
My purchases. Doesn't look like a hour's worth of shopping, but I had to get my bearings. Next time I'll be much faster.
Here I am with my two lbs of hot italian sausage, like a proud fisher with his catch.
Saturday evening's activity? Cooking up Sunday's tomato sauce. I probably would have tried preparing all the meats on Saturday if we'd had the fridge space for them.
Fast forward to Sunday. Here we have some of the humble beginnings of the day's dinner: Meatballs in tomato sauce, Hot Sausage and Ricotta Cavatelli with Browned Sage Butter (which you might remember me making in April), Roasted Cauliflower and Roasted Carrots, and Arugula with Pecorino Romano and Red Wine Vinagrette dressing.
Typed out, it doesn't sound like much food. Or work.
We got dinner ready in just under two hours, without so many helping hands it might have taken a week. Double the portions and apparently you quadruple the work? But if you quintuple the workers it evens back out.
The making of meatballs. Meat, bread, garlic, cheese, pine nuts, raisins, parsley, white pepper.
Smush smush smush smush smush.
Add eggs! (follow with breadcrumbs)
Check for proper sizing.
Arrange on tray.
I make you cookies!
Here is one of my cooking tricks: I write out the menu and stick it at my eye level so I'm not constantly consulting my cookbooks.
Mom on veggie duty.
It is time to start making the cavatelli. Pint of ricotta plus and egg . . .
Stir stir stir.
Begin making the dough in the mixer.
. . . check on the meatballs . . .
Then finish kneading that dough by hand.
Owen starts on cavatelli dough round two. Mom makes sure he knows what he's doing.
Meanwhile I pretend the sausage is a deadly snake.
Before starting to simmer it.
Meatballs out of the oven! Are they firm and yet yielding? Perfect!!
Now Owen kneads the round two cavatelli dough.
Quarter your dough.
Turn it into flat snakes.
And get crankin'.
Meanwhile I'm simmering the meatballs and browning the sausage (and butter).
Cory preparing cheese for the salad. At this point the clock is ticking. Everything is about to either completely fall apart or come together simultaneously and perfectly.
Kristen and Cory finish the salad. I told them the dressing would be good! I told them we should use every bag of arugula. People didn't think we'd need a lot of salad but I knew. I knew it was going to be the best!
Cavatelli boiled and drained and tossed with the browned sage butter, sausages on their way in. It seem s like this dinner is going to work out after all.
Mix mix mix. Add cheese. Add parsley.
And blammo! There it is. Dinner. Doesn't look like much like this.
But everyone liked it!
Even the baby!