Last week a lone tweet went out, and it filled me with excitement. Girl-school giddiness in fact. Rob Smart, an amazing Pro Food advocate wondered aloud if people would embrace a No Fast Food Friday pledge the same way millions have thrown support, one meal at a time, behind the Meatless Monday movement. The idea being small changes by many people can have a big impact on the planet and how our food is produced.
Purists may want to take a seat. I’ve done a lot of tampering with this seemingly classic Italian dish.
Some of the changes were from necessity, and others pure whim. I’ve made a pork version of this a few times, the sweetness of the marsala wine being a natural compliment to the flavors of the pork from Flying Pigs Farm. Yes, you read correctly—I used marsala wine in this bolognese sauce, casting aside the requisite red wine.
Some of my quickest meals are made from the pantry. And when I say pantry, I’m not just talking about the cupboard with dry goods. My fridge and freezer are extensions too, and the goodies I keep in there allow me to make lightening fast, gourmet-like dinners with little effort. One thing you’ll always find in my fridge is homemade marinara sauce.
I first tasted fresh ricotta about 10 years ago. It was revelatory. Creamy, almost buttery, bits of cheese, full of flavor that melt in your mouth. Nothing at all like the watery stuff I grew up eating off supermarket shelves. Learning how to make it last year ranks in my top ten of foods I can no longer live without. A simple dollop livens up a standard tomato basil sauce, and it’s the key ingredient to making manicotti, an Italian pasta “crepe” filled with ricotta and baked with sauce.