I started off 2010 right, with a huge big meal with wine and friends! Straight from the cover of Bon Appetit's "Best of 2009" edition, I prepared spaghetti and meatballs alla matriciana:
The fork is being held by "Meat Man" NWY, and the magazine is being held up by EW. We also had some fresh italian bread from whole foods, 2 bottles of wine, some beers, and some cannoli that EW and NWY picked up at WF on the way over, because they are awesome! Actually there was only 1 bottle of wine at the meal: the sauce called for 2 cups of wine and there was no fucking way I was going to waste the other half a bottle, so I was already 1 bottle in when EW and NWY arrived!
The white wine element of the sauce that the meatballs were in was actually a critical element. I would say what made the dish was the wine in the sauce and the heat from the crushed red pepper. The heat gave the dish a really nice comforting vibe. I expected the dish to be made by the bacon (there was bacon paste in the meatballs and bacon on the red sauce), but I could seriously hardly even tell it was there. The meatballs were nice and moist, and they smelled amazing when I was rolling them out, but I think that frozen ones could almost have been substituted-- the sauce was really that good and that important. I might have liked the meatballs better if I had cooked them longer and a little hotter, but I was already like an hour late for service when I was frying them so I pretty much took them out as soon as they were cooked through.
It was pretty fun making bacon paste. Also, note for the future: the preparation of this took about 3 hours, and I only thought it was going to take 1.5. This was the first meal I served on my new china, and I was really happy to serve it to EW and NWY (and to mr. monk, who got one piece of diced bacon and 1/8 a meatball.) We resolved to repeat this scene (if not this dish) again in March, when KDF visits PGH!
I hope you all started your 2010 off with such a sure fire, satisfying path to spherical form! And I hope that the culinary quality of the year continues along the standards I put up today!