Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I love being Italian

Ah, yes, now that is beauty. THAT is my definition of soul food. Something that makes you feel comfortable, warm, loved, and is always reminiscent of home. For me, it is and always will be spaghetti. Every Sunday--and I mean every Sunday-- at home while growing up we had spaghetti. (My mom still makes it every Sunday!) Special occasions would warrant Grandma's ravioli (YUM) and occasionally we had homemade spaghetti noodles. This Sunday we had homemade noodles. Sigh. Happiness does not come in a purer form.

Now let's examine how we got to the picture above.

Above: The noodles exiting the machine.
Below: The noodles laid out carefully on a floured cookie sheet.

I love coming into the kitchen and seeing trays of noodles laid out on cookie sheets. Remember that comfort food thing I was telling you? This is it. Homemade noodles mean you're in for an amazing dinner.

Now what are noodles without an amazing sauce? My mom makes almost a vat of sauce, or so it seems! But, extra sauce means more for me to take home and freeze. =) The original sauce came from my great-grandmother who used tomato paste, garlic, salt, and pepper--very simple yet delicious. My grandmother added the addition of meat and herbs and my mom learned from her. My mom swears pork makes the best sauce, but she switches from time to time and will use anything from ground pork to pork ribs to ground beef to ground veal. Forget BBQ ribs. (Okay, well not entirely because I happen to love those too, but you get what I'm saying.) Pork ribs cooked in spaghetti sauce are out of this world. My mom browns the meat first and then adds garlic, salt, pepper, tomato paste, diced tomato, and a generous amount of pecorino romano. I might have said it before, but my family prefers pecorino romano to parmigiano reggiano for spaghetti. It's much sharper and stands up to the tang of the spaghetti sauce.
Ah, yes. And occasionally we get meatballs. Ground beef and veal usually. But you can be creative and experiment with meats. You get a different taste and texture with each different type. So there you have it. I can't imagine not being Italian and having Italian food as often as I do. For most people it's a nice change from the daily fare, but for me it is my main cuisine.


melissa said...

I've never had homemade noodles, but sure would love to.

And the meatballs - I really want to make Ina Garten's recipe with beef, veal and pork. I've never done anything but beef, which is a shame. I want to just bite right into one of yours, staring at the photo. Yum.

Tiffany said...

Oh you would love homemade noodles. The texture and chewiness are just out of this world!

And let me know how Ina's are. I just love the combination of meats because it gives it a better texture and a much better flavor!