Monday, October 10, 2011

In Fourteen Hundred And Ninety Two...

Today is Columbus Day. I had to work. Hubby Tony did not.

Usually he's left for the office by the time I come downstairs in the morning, so it was different having him there today. As I got dressed for work, he was downstairs making his plans for the day. When I left, he had already started on his activities.

In my experience, Columbus Day is celebrated by the post office, banks, government offices, and some schools. I don't know how many people got to stay home today, but it was enough to affect traffic in a good way; the bottleneck I always run into getting onto the highway wasn't there.

While I was at work, I had a dinner inspiration. Since Christopher Columbus was born in Italy, wouldn't it be nice to celebrate his day by having Italian food for dinner? In between fielding questions at the Customer Service desk I put together a menu and wrote out a grocery list.

I asked Tony to pick up a loaf of good bread while he was out. After I left work, I drove to the grocery store and picked up the rest of the ingredients. My list started with a head of romaine lettuce for salad. The main dish was pasta (whole wheat rotini) with sausage and vegetables in red sauce (salsiccia, a container of sliced baby bella mushrooms, and a can of crushed tomatoes). I already had onion, garlic, red wine, and beef broth.

When I got home I fed the cats, then put the sausages in the oven to bake. I cut an onion into large pieces, then started sautéing it while I minced garlic. After five minutes the garlic went in the pan, too. I added the mushrooms, turned up the heat, and cooked them until they were dark brown. A big splash of red wine to deglazed the pan, then I poured in a cup of beef broth and the can of tomatoes. I seasoned the sauce with basil, oregano, and a teaspoon of sugar and let it simmer. When the sausage was done, I let it cool for a few minutes, then cut it into bite-sized pieces and added it to the sauce pot and simmered it while I cooked the pasta.

I prepared the salad and put it in a bowl. Tony came home bearing bread and cups of spumoni for dessert. It didn't take long to slice the bread and set the table. I plated the pasta, but put everything else on the table so we could serve ourselves. After we'd finished, I asked Tony to "serve" dessert. He got the ice cream cups from the freezer, took off the lids, and added a spoon to each. Couldn't be easier.

The whole meal was wonderful, and there's enough for leftovers tomorrow, too. I'd like to think Christopher Columbus would approve

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