I love shopping for food, talking about food, trying new foods, all day cook-a-thons, growing, harvesting and preserving food, dining out, and recipes. I believe that just about anything can be fixed, solved, resolved, or decided over a good meal. I am talking about a meal that comes from the soul. A meal that is prepared with thought and served with intention. Comfort foods in particular.
I have been collecting recipes for 25+ years that I keep in a 3-ring binder. But before any recipe makes it into that binder, I prepare it and taste-test it. Sometimes I tweak the recipe and sometimes I toss it. Only OMG! recipes make it into my binder. Those recipes are my “go-to” recipes. Here's one of those recipes I’d like to share with you. It’s a pasta dish because I happen to think that pasta is the center of the universe when it comes to comfort foods.
Cuban Spaghetti (torn from a magazine in 2001 and I’ve been making it since)
3 cups Marinara sauce, store bought is fine but homemade is better
1 lb. thin spaghetti, broken in half
3 cans (14 ½ oz.) low-sodium chicken broth
3 or 4 Italian sausages, not too spicy, cooked and sliced
1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup pimento stuffed green olives, sliced (do not skip the olives or substitute black ones, they're the secret ingredient)
2 Tbsp. crushed fresh garlic, more if you don’t plan to kiss anyone after dinner
Fresh shaved or grated Parmesan cheese. No, no, no to that powdery stuff in the canister
1.) In a large saucepot, bring the marina and 2 can of broth to a boil.
2.) Add the pasta to the sauce and simmer over a low flame, stirring frequently.
3.) While the pasta is cooking, add the red pepper, onion, olives, and garlic. Cook 15 minutes or so, till the pasta softens.
4.) Add the sausage and the last can of broth, stir frequently until the pasta is completely cooked and almost all of the liquid completely absorbed, about 5 minutes.
5.) Serve in big bowls with Parmesan cheese, crusty bread and olive oil for dipping and a Chianti
This is a simple recipe that allows you to do other stuff while it cooks. Tending to it requires only that you stir it from time to time. I really like not having to worry about over-cooking OR under-cooking the spaghetti or making sure everyone sits down NOW so the spaghetti stays hot once its drained.
Plus the house smells divine while this simmers.