Now, before I have the Italian contingent of my readership get up in arms, I don't like going out for *most* Italian food. I can make my own pasta and sauce at home, easily and inexpensively. What I do like to go out for are things like gnocchi, which are fiddly and deeeeeeelicious.
Andrew took my statement to mean that I absolutely, positively, never-ever-EVER would EVER want to go to an Italian restaurant. EV-VER.
While we were in Long Beach for TNNA, we went to a PHENOMENAL Italian restaurant, La Parolaccia, and I had the most incredible saffron gnocchi. Here, have a bite:
This train of thought led to the idea of buying pre-prepared gnocchi and making the sauce myself, and other tasty (and simple to make) dishes, including lasagna.
With that thought in mind, I called Andrew from the hotel, and said, "Hey, what would you think of me making some lasagna?"
"Lasagna! I would LOVE it! It's my favorite food ever!" Andrew exclaimed, and then went on for TEN minutes about his love of lasagna, which he never breathed a word of previously.
The information was staggering. It was like I found out that I married a Cylon. Who loves lasagna.
"I... I don't even KNOW you!" I sputtered in a silly way, but still feeling a little upset that he never told me. What kind of monster am I?
"You said you hated Italian food. I didn't think it was a dealbreaker. I have Stouffer's lasagna when you go out of town," he told me.
"Stouffer's?! Why don't you just stick a knife in my HEART?" I said, owning my melodrama.
He paused for a moment, and I said, "Ok. So, I'll check the Joy of Cooking for a recipe for lasagna."
"All right! I'm looking forward to it," Andrew said.
So, fast forward to this last week. I checked my trusty copy of Joy of Cooking, and I made the Tomato sauce with meatballs recipe (variation 2). I did the whole thing, shaped the meatballs, the whole megillah:
Those meatballs are nasty little things. They taste delicious, but the oil pops and spatters, and while they were well-behaved for the photograph, they were NOT well-behaved in the pan. At a certain point, I screamed a few choice words at them, and then decided that browned, season ground beef would be just fine in my sauce, and that the Kitchen Police would not come and get me.
I prepped the lasagna for Sunday Game Night (a new tradition in our house, inspired by Meghan from the Stitch It! Podcast), and realized that a lot of the ingredients were the same as for meatloaf.
To show that I really and truly am earning my grown-up merit badge, I did the prep and got the meatloaf muffins (Emy corrected my referring to them as "meatloaf cupcakes") baked while LukeWarm was already working, the way he does. Barely any extra prep, and zero extra dirty dishes.