Christmas Dinner: well can you guess? Traditions can change with time, but the yearning for the traditional heritage food we grew up with, remains. Hence not surprisingly, Diane wanted an Italian-American dish. I asked her what she wanted and the answer was simple: Pasta.
As she returned from walking dogs at the Lange Foundation where she is a senior volunteer, she said more specifically that she wanted: Spaghetti and Meatballs. I anticipated this request and while the “sauce” was being made since about 12 noon today, in between that I made some meatballs. I have searched in all my Italian cookbooks and created my own version of the “sauce” as well as “the meatballs”
Of course, I wanted to make sure that we did have some “fish”, so we had, “Indian Candy” as appetizers. For those who are not initiated, it is a smoked, marinated and candied salmon. Once you have it, I will guarantee that you will be addicted and will always want it again. My guess is that in the future, more often it will be on your dinner table and not just at Christmas.
Since it is Christmas, I fell just eating Spaghetti and Meatballs was not festive or traditional enough for me. So, with that said, I also made a creamed Cauliflower Soup.
As, I was researching in all my Italian cookbooks, I noticed a trend. Most “authentic Italians” will eat meatballs separately. Either they have it as an appetizer, or after the pasta, but hardly ever with the Spaghetti like Italian Americans.
Another difference is, that the Italians eat smaller meatballs, not like the Italian Americans with the oversized meatballs. To go a step further they use a lot less “sauce”. They want to taste the pasta, rather than have it buried in the sauce.
Keep in mind there is a huge difference in flavor and yield, if you are using imported San Marzano Tomatoes. One of my friends asked me many years ago, if I was cooking with San Marzano Tomatoes? All I can say is “Thank you Mary” for shaming me into cooking with them. Now I do not want any other kind, since there is such a major difference.
Making meatballs is an art as well, if you do not add enough moist bread crumbs the meatballs will be dense and heavy. If you do not bake or fried them, then they will taste “soggy” take my word for it, neither is good when the meal is served. So, if you are short on time than you are better off making the meatballs the day before.
So, with that said we had the quintessential Italian-American dish for Christmas: Spaghetti and meatballs. Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas and let us know what you had for dinner. Merry Christmas to all.
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