Someone recently told me that if you open your lunchbox and find an arugula salad, tossed by the hand of another, it means love. And this got me to thinking. Food is an expression of love. It takes time, and attention, and a ton of patience. Food doesnt always work out, it can be frustrating, and fail. But food can also make you smile, and desire, and dream and experience it again…and so does love.
So, the six of us got together and made love, or well, rather, we made meatballs!
JB began at the pasta helm. Armed with 00 seven flour as we affectionately call it, she began her magic. Organic yolks were added and special things happened.
She made short work of the task and soon we had pasta dough, ready to have a little rest then become the fettucine it was meant to be.
During her respite, we set out to turning 4lbs of pre cased weasel into our meatball mash. We derobed the lovely lasses, and noted immediately the course grind of actual strands of pork meat entwined with fat. Our butcher was a pro! This was no table scrap throw together everything but the kitchen sink organization!
This was real sausage, two ingredients, as it should be. Simply put…run from someone who extols the virtues of additives and extras in your casing. Or rather…question those who need to drive the Ferrari’s, what are they reaaaaaaallly trying to hide. Just sayin’, less is often more in both sausage, and love, as it turns out.
We added some grass fed beef to the bowl, chopped white onions, eggs, several cups of breadcrumbs, and then a healthy dash of oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the fold. The secret white ingredient you ask…why thats our dear friend ricotta, do it, you’ll never do it without again.
Shape your meatballs to your desired dimensions, but don’t handle them to much. Something important with meatballs is that you want the fat intact, not melted from you pawing them too much. This is important in the maintenance of a juicy meatball, and burger too for that matter. Sometimes you dont need to have your hands on everything, just bits of things, for bits of time. You’ll learn. You may err now, but your next go you’ll make less mistakes, better, juicier, meatballs. People will remember them. They’ll remind you after even you have forgotten. They’ll smile, because of you.
Speaking of smiling. The smell of fresh pasta is something you need to treat yourself to. We did. After her most successful pasta nap, enter kitchen aids.
We draped it over the back of chairs and across our tables, dusted it lightly with semolina and just admired with eyes and nose at our splendors. Soon she would be ready for a quick boil, a slight sauce, and her meaty companions.
What happened next you ask? Bruschetta was made by JB: the most elegant rub of ricotta and lemon zest topped toast with roasted butternut squash and fried sage. Beth fashioned a crisp arugula salad with fennel and generous shavings of aged parmesan laced her lemony leaves. I created a caponata of eggplant, and Donald handled dessert in the way that only he knows best-Tiramisu in all her glory. Rich, silken marscapone, espresso drenched lady fingers…truly heaven.
Natalia supplied us with our Italian wares, so scarf teckties were worn and of course mustaches did abound. Some more creatively wore their facial hair compared to others, some just got sassy, and others didnt need them because they can grow their own!
The rest of the evening was for us. We could post a few more photos but you wouldn’t see it. You wouldn’t catch the lingering glances and shared smiles. Nor the passed forks and the infectious laughter, like a favorite song, trickling up and down the lengthy mustachioed table. Arms were slung around neighboring chairs, and something more than a thank you for full bellies was occuring. A deeper, unmentionable gratitude was present. Sated by our epicurean creations, and each other, there was love in them meatballs, and I’ll take that in my lunchbox any day.