Question: Is there ever a sweeter, more thoughtful gift than someone bringing you dinner? I remember when I had newborns, volunteers from our church would bring a meal. I returned the favor over and over because it was so very helpful.
I like to take meals to people. Families who have just moved into a new house. People who are sick or who have had surgery. Moms who just had a baby and can’t put their babies down long enough to cook. What can I say? I like to feed people.
Many months ago, my sweet friend Susie gifted our family with dinner and she did it for no reason at all. She’s a busy mom herself, with three kids, so this was especially sweet.
Seriously folks - as much as I like to cook, I LOVE it when somebody cooks for me and yes, this is an open invitation. You may bring me dinner anytime from now until eternity. It will give me more time to play Plants vs. Zombies.
Anyway, Susie brought our family this pasta dish and guess what? EVERYONE LOVED IT. It was a miracle. So naturally I’ve made it a part of our family’s repertoire. It’s easy, tasty and kid-friendly. It’s perfect! Also, you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.
Let’s get movin’ . . .
Break up a pound of Italian sausage in a large saucepan and begin cooking it. Use your nifty mixer/chopper thingie. While that starts to cook, chop up an onion.
If you’re lucky enough to own a NEW! CUTCO! SANTOKU! you should probably use it only be careful because new knives have an uncanny ability to amputate fingers.
Add the onion to the meat and cook until soft and translucent.
While the sausage/onion mixture is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and begin cooking the pasta. The original recipe called for ziti but I couldn’t find any at the store so I got this. I think any tubular pasta will work.
Do you know how to pronounce the word “penne”? It’s PEN-NAY. Just like “pen” as in ball point or ink pen. It’s not pronounced - under any circumstances - PAY-NAY. You want to ask me how I know this? Really. Ask me. It’s not embarrassing at all. Anymore.
Many years ago, my friend Anna invited me to dinner. She and her boyfriend, Mark, were making homemade pizza and - joy of joys! - wanted to share it with me. It was an excellent meal - a simple, homemade pizza crust with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil. Yummo. As we ate, we talked about Italian food and what our personal favorites were. I shared with both Anna and Mark that I was a sucker for pasta - any kind of pasta - but my favorite was penne. I called it PAY-NAY.
“I love PAY-NAY! It’s my favorite of all!” I then proceeded to say PAY-NAY about 60 more times.
Do you know what PAY-NAY means in Italian? Go on and guess. I can wait.
It means “penis”.
I had just told my friend and her boyfriend that I loved penis and it was my favorite. Oh, and did I mention that Mark was Italian? Did I mention he was fluent in Italian? And was getting his doctorate in Italian at IU? Mark very gently, graciously and quickly corrected me.
The next time you think you’re a big dork just remember this story. I think we’ll all agree - I win.
Let’s get back to the food. I’m assuming you still have an appetite.
Let this sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, until it’s thickened to your liking. This would be great on spaghetti, too!
Grab your cheese grater and go to work on ¼ c. of Parmesan cheese. My cheese grater is looking especially handsome today, isn’t he? Such a sweetie . . .
I ended up slicing the fresh mozzarella and laying it on top. I love, love, LOVE using fresh mozzarella cheese!
Printable recipe here.
If you’re drinking wine, we’ll excuse you from mispronouncing Italian words.