Updated: Sep 15, 2020
By A Homegrown Homebody
One gift this global pandemic has bestowed on me is the ability to grocery shop BY MYSELF. Before Coronavirus, you'd have found me playing tetris with the groceries in my cart, packages of meat and produce arranged precariously around my newborn in his infant seat and bags of shredded cheese piled onto my toddlers lap in the little basket in the front. Many a kind grandma stopped to assist (and sneak a peek) as I passed; "Here, you're about to lose your cucumbers! Oh, how OLD is he?! Are you a good big brother?" It was…moderately enjoyable? My weekly grocery date with the older one was a pastime he and I greatly enjoyed, but since the newborn rendered the fun tractor carts unusable, it became far more like the chore most normal people bemoan. I did not realize how truly enjoyable it could be to go it alone. EVEN in a mask.
My privilege is not lost on me. We have been fortunate that we have not been immediately touched in a big way by this virus. My family and loved ones for the most part have their jobs, and if they lost their jobs they qualified for unemployment. They still have their homes, no one near and dear has suffered or died and we have yet to be impacted significantly by economic or climate collapse. AND did I mention that I really love being at home? Quarantine ain't no thing for this home body.
So here's a little something for all of us. If you are from Rochester, you probably love Wegmans. If you don't…well I think it's a glitch in the system? If you lived in Rochester and moved away to a place without a Wegmans, you probably miss it and I am so sorry. Going to Wegmans is about the only alone time I get these days so I take great joy in leisurely strolling the aisles, slowly making my way down my list, trying to sniff whole bean coffees from Counter Culture or Glen Edith through the protection of my mask, buying the maximum quantities of canned crushed tomatoes and All Purpose Flour. Heaven forbid I run out and my sourdough starter needs a feeding. Two Wegmans trips in one week? Yeah right, that starter is toast.
Spaghetti sauce was the first thing I learned how to make as a tween. My grandmother and mother had me helping to make red sauce from the time I was tall enough to see into the pot. Those were sacred moments in front of the stove. And followed by a shared meal with grandparents or brother and sister and Mom and Dad. This was my foundation and I'm pretty sure this is the reason spaghetti is my ultimate comfort food. Like, give me spaghetti or give me death. And get OUTTA here with those overrated cousins penne, ziti and rotini. I want the good stuff. I want to twirl it in a spoon like my Italian ancestors. I want as much sauce and finely grated Pecorino cozying up to the surface of the pasta as possible. I wanna slurp those noods so good.
But this recipe I am sharing with you today is not my grandmothers sauce. That sauce deserves a spotlight of it's own and that it shall receive. In time, my friends, in time.
My gift to you this week is a little homage to the promised land. A cheap AF, impossible to mess up recipe for your weeknight arsenal. This is a riff on Marcella Hazan's famous sauce, which if you are unfamilar, get thee to Google and learn that recipe TODAY. This recipe is what I came up with to simplify and quicken that recipe even more (is that even possible?!) Round out this meal with a box of spaghetti (cooked the MINIMUM amount of time suggested) and a Caesar salad kit made directly in the bag (because, less dishes and ICYMI, Lorelai Gilmore and I are pretty kindred). I really like adding ricotta con latte to my sauce, but I don't always. The whole milk makes it creamier than your typical ricotta and it gives the sauce an extra something. Feel free to dump in half a bag of frozen meatballs to this sauce to round out the meal. By the time the pasta is done, so will the meatballs! And no one has to know they weren't from scratch. And if they figure it out and give you a hard time? Remind them we are in the middle of a pandemic, wildfires, protests, hurricane season and to go eat a shoe.
Sending so much love to those of you finding yourselves in less than ideal circumstances or have suffered in any way during this INSANE time. I hope this humble recipe brings a little comfort into your week!
Lots of love and spaghetti slurps,
From this homebody to you,