Bites with Becca: Cooking with love

by Rebecca Szkutak / Beacon Staff • February 15, 2017

Fresh pasta completes the Valentine's meal.
Fresh pasta completes the Valentine's meal.

Around Valentine’s Day, the question of whether to dine out or dine in with a date is seemingly inevitable. To really crank that romance, and to save a couple dolla doos, the best restaurant is your kitchen. The immense pressure to spend money on a significant other—because somehow that translates to love—is ridiculous. Love is homegrown, so why not cook at home?

Marriage is said to be the biggest statement of the love between two people and the conjoining of their families. But why start there when you could be starting in your apartment right now?

My partner and I have been together for over four years and there aren’t many surprises left—at least, I hope not. This year for Valentine’s Day, we decided to cook together, making a mix of things that we loved to celebrate our love.

I chose to make my favorite pasta sauce with meatballs. I’ve been eating this for as long as I have been able to. The memories I have of this sauce are almost as savory as it is. I remember being passed a plate of it through the window onto my grandparents’ screened-in porch on many lazy August nights in Attleboro, Massachusetts. The recipe is in my house written on a dirty note card specifically labeled “8-10 servings (6-8 if Ed [my dad] is included)!”

To complement this, my partner decided to make a simple homemade pasta—something he didn’t remember making himself. The memories of his mom showing him the steps came back immediately as he started.

A perfect pair sets out to make a perfect dinner.

The sauce and meatballs are easy. For that, combine your favorite ground meat with eggs, breadcrumbs, onion, and salt and pepper. Prep time is less than 10 minutes, so there’s no excuse to not do it.

The sauce is a beautiful mix of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, and any good red  wine. The amounts of each are a family secret, except for the wine—two cups go in the sauce, and one cup in your mouth.

This sauce has to simmer for two hours. The smell will kill you—that is, if you don’t shove your face into it first. Two hours, though, gives you plenty of time to either make the rest of what you are having for dinner, make a desert, watch a documentary on Scientology, or even clean your bathroom.

Instead of cleaning the entire apartment, my partner used the two hours to make a fresh pasta. I went back and forth between searching for internships and chatting with my partner about the news.

Just keep an eye and nose on the sauce in the meantime, not that you will be able to ignore the strong aroma. And for the sake of fashion, don’t you dare wear a white shirt in that splatter zone. This sauce will destroy your stove, but it’s nothing that a little 409 can’t clean up later.

Making pasta is easy because all you need are three ingredients that you probably already have. Pop that flour, egg, and salt into a bowl and give it a good mix. Roll it out flat, and cut it up how you want it.

The food came out perfectly, and there is nothing better after cooking a big meal with someone than to finally sit down and eat it.

Cooking is a form of expression. So when planning your Valentine’s Day dinner, make something you love to share with the one you love.

Get lovin’ and get cookin’.