Let's have pasta for dinner tonight. That sounds great since we haven't had it in ages, but if we are wanting a basic marinara sauce with meatballs and Italian sausage, then that requires much time and preparation. Once we decide when we then ask who should we have join us, for it is a meal to share with family and friends.
The sauce takes 2-3 hours of simmering, and once that nears completion, the meatballs and sausage are prepared. The sausage is partially precooked in the microwave, then lightly browned on the grill, and I sometimes brown the meatballs prior to placing them in the sauce, all to finish cooking.
Allowing all the flavors to meld and marinate overnight yields much better results for the following evening's dinner. So many foods are much better a day or two later, and we do love our leftovers.
The weather forecast for this evening's meal was to be sunny and 60 degrees, but it was overcast and chilly throughout the day. As is usual here in the Pacific northwest, late afternoons will often yield the sun, and it did so this evening just as our friends arrived.
Tonight's dinner: An antipasto of salami, prosciutto, several cheeses, olives, roasted hazelnuts with rosemary, accompanied by an '03 Pfeiffer Pinot Gris and enjoyed outside in the gazebo, although with a light jacket. Delightfully delicious was an '03 Olssen's Jackson Barry Pinot Noir as we walked around the garden.
Linguini with meatballs and Italian sausage, salad (provided by our friends), a little rosemary bread, and of course a nice bottle of red wine, an outstanding '04 Sbragia Zinfandel.
A wonderful evening filled with fine food, good wine and much fun and laughter... shared with friends. It doesn't get much better than that.