A Perfect Dinner

by Danny Zawacki

Tonight, my creativity came easily. Tonight, I made pasta.

My favorite, go-to dish which can be made in a pinch is pasta and Italian sausage. It’s one of those dishes I can put together without really thinking about what I’m doing. The ingredients are readily available and ready ahead of time. In a perfect world, I’ll eat it once a week.

So why does a prepped in advance dinner make me feel creative? Maybe creative isn’t the right word, maybe it’s just it makes me feel good. It’s comforting and it feeds the soul. It’s not healthy but it’s not unhealthy either. It can be light and it can be heavy depending on how much you put on your plate. The flavor can vary too, depending on whatever you might have done when you prepared the sauce or the sausage or even the pasta (if I’m feeling extra adventurous).

The sauce was made over the summer, I made two large pots of it and canned it. The tomatoes were had for cheap because our CSA had crates of tomatoes which “were not pretty enough” to send out in the weekly boxes. So I picked up about thirty pounds for ten bucks and made pasta sauce. That’s pretty good for that many organic tomatoes of a varied variety. I forget how many pints I ended up with but it was enough to last me until this coming summer when I’ll do the process all over again. Canning tomatoes and sauce is a tradition I got from my parents who grow hundreds of tomatoes and can them and sauce them each summer. I intend to carry on the tradition for the next few decades or more.

The sausage was made a few weeks or a month ago. I got a bunch of sausage making supplies right before Christmas last year and have put it to good use, learning how to craft a fine sausage. So far, my efforts have been mostly disappointing and borderline embarrassing. The sausage is too dry. But with my most recent batch, a breakfast sausage, I figured it out. I need to add suet to the mix to give it a nice amount of fat to fry itself in. This Italian sausage was from a batch before the breakfast sausage and it came out rather dry. The flavor is great, but I’m not entering any contests with this batch. I made three pounds of it and we’re not a little over halfway through it. Does that mean we eat a lot of sausage? I think it does. Ellie said she never ate so much sausage before meeting me. It’s meat and seasoning fried in grease, what’s not to like.

With those past moments of creativity, tonight’s dinner came together in a very, very satisfying way. I have a tendency to overeat when I make pasta, and rightfully so! It’s so damn delicious! Tonight, however, I was good and limited myself to only one plate of food (plus the food Ellie couldn’t finish so that doesn’t count because it never hit my plate).

Before you ask, yes, I would love to make this dinner for you. You’ll get a good meal and I’ll get a good meal. Just let me know when you’re coming over and which bottle of wine you’ll be bringing. I’ll take care of the rest.