If you are following along, you will know by now that there are few foods in life that I love amore (it started as a typo, but I decided to leave it as “amore” for artistic reasons) than Italian food, and more specifically pasta. It was for this reason that on one lonely Sunday, when the wife was away and the dog was curled up after a morning run, that I decided to dedicate the afternoon, evening and night to the creation of not one, but six of the cheesy masterpieces that you see here.
Just look at it. Isn’t it a thing of beauty? Doesn’t it make you want to tick into that savory stack of gooey cheese, scrumptious sauce, and lovingly crafted noodles? Note: These are rhetorical questions.
Another such question is the following: Why spend so much time on something like this?
Let me attempt to formulate an appropriate response.
Because of this sound: “Mmmmmmm”
Yup, that’s pretty much it.
Confused? I’ll attempt to elucidate:
The reason I spend hours planning a menu, perusing the grocery store, searing meat, dicing garlic, chopping fresh herbs, hand-rolling meatballs, simmering sauces, rolling out pasta dough, layering the lasagna, doing sink-loads of dishes, and otherwise lurking in the kitchen for the better part of a day is that when I eventually get to cook and serve one of these things for some hungry other, I get to hear the best sound in the world: “mmmmmmm”. That simple utterance, the sound of an appreciative consumer, is the reason that the culinary arts exist.
As a cook, albeit an amateur one, I want to know that I can create complex flavors using basic ingredients.
I want to be able to pull something off of the stove, out of the oven, or off of the grill, and have the people I’m cooking for know – inherently – that I put thought and care into my creation.
I want to have people want to eat the food that I make.
I want to know that I can invest half a day in the laborious creation of various elements of a dish otherwise dismissed as simple, and have the process prove worthwhile, even if I was only cooking for myself.
Above all, I want to serve people food that tastes good; that makes them smile.