Simple spaghetti with a tomato meat sauce.
when I'm feeling sooky or sad or just tired there's nothing better than a plain old fashioned meal of spaghetti. I don't really have a recipe for this dish because I've been making it as long as I can remember cooking.
I vary it a little each time depending on what I have on hand. But there are some characteristics that HAVE to stay the same each time:
1) The dish must have a lot of garlic
2) The sauce must be made from scratch. By that I mean that the tomato sauce should start as actual tomatoes. Canned or fresh...it doesn't matter but they have to be real tomatoes that I can cook down, simmer, and turn into a sauce.
3) The pasta has to be cooked al dente (or "to the tooth"). I'm not one to make pasta from scratch (though I'd love to have some if you're offering) but I will not compromise on the "doneness" of my pasta. I like it to have a little bite and it cannot be mushy.
4) Sorry veggies but for a truly comforting spaghetti dish, I need some kind of meat for me to really enjoy it. I'll blame my upbringing for this one. I grew up eating lots of meat-based dishes and, though I really love veggies and a lot of meat-substitute products, there's no substitute for the heartiness or texture ground beef, turkey, chicken or pork gives to a dish of homemade spaghetti.
5) Give it time. The sauce should be simmered for a little while to let all the flavours mingle and marry. Ever notice how lots of chilis or pasta dishes taste better as leftovers the next day? That's because the sauce has had time to develop and settle. I'm not one of those people who will say you should simmer your spaghetti sauce all day. But you will notice a huge difference if you let it simmer for about an hour before digging in.
So if you need some comfort food put on a pot of pasta and start throwing some fresh ingredients into a pan for simmering. Before you know it you'll have a warming dish that's good for your belly and soul.