I hugged my loves a little tighter today. Lingered a little longer over conversations. Treasured moments a little closer. Why? Because yesterday I found myself rearranging my day to make dinner for someone who wont get to hug her husband again. For a family that lost their dad.
Life happens in a blink of an eye and can get lost between dishes, laundry, errands, and general “have-tos.” All while cooking yesterday I brushed away tears thinking of how I would feel if God called Nathan home tonight. I felt for this family and poured all my love into, what I felt was, the least I could do.
This recipe doubles easily which is what I did when I made it. One for a grieving family and one for my little family, for which I gave many thanks. I have made this recipe many many times and every time it comes out the same- delicious. Yes, it is time consuming. Yes, it is totally worth the 2+ hours it takes to go from recipe to table. It is nourishing. The kind of food that not only fills your stomach but also your soul.
So, please, stop and think of all that you have and what you can be thankful for. Call those you love that are far away. Hug those you treasure that are close by. Slow down. Breathe deep. Make dinner for your family. Sit and eat together. Laugh. Love. Live. All too soon it is gone. Life is happening right now- take it in all for all it is worth.
Baked Penne with Bolognese (serves a crowd- at least 6)
3 tbs olive oil
4 tbs unsalted butter
1 large onion diced
4 celery ribs finely chopped
2 carrots finely chopped
3 garlic cloves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh marjoram
2 bay leaves
1 lb ground beef (preferable humanely raised and grass fed)
2 tbs tomato paste
14 oz can crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 lb penne rigate
8 oz shredded mozzarella
4 oz grated Parmesan
Heat oil and butter in a large pan over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic and herbs. Cook till vegetables are light golden brown. Add ground beef and cook till it starts to color, breaking up any large pieces as you go. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the tomato paste. Cook for 5 more minutes then stir in the canned tomatoes and 1 cup water. Cover and simmer for 1 hr.
In another pot bring 4 quarts of water to a rapid boil. Add 2 tbs of salt, then the pasta, and stir well. Bring back to a boil and cook per the package directions. Once it has reached al dente drain in to a colander.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix the pasta and sauce. Taste for season and add salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to a large baking dish. Sprinkle with the grated cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes till golden brown and bubbly. Serve at once.
This dish reheats extraordinarily well.