When I think about what cooking or baking means to me, it fundamentally means family and love. Family that is blood, family I’ve chosen. From the simplest of fast weekday meals to the most complicated, every dish has been presented with love. In this space I’ll be attempting to share with you some of the things that have fed body and soul in our home. Maybe sometimes we’ll go on a journey together and learn a new skill. Sometimes we’ll explore and restore vintage recipes. Today, we’re going to the heart of my childhood to explore an old comfort food with a terrible name.
Glop. Glop is the sound it makes when it hits the plate. It’s delicious, it’s filling, it’s always a crowd-pleaser. It’s got a stupid name, I agree. When I was a wee sprout spending weekends with my beloved grandmother who knew more about Descartes than desserts, this was one of the five things she could reliably make that I asked for over and over again. How I make it now for my own family differs only slightly from how it was made for me. For starters, my grandma always added kidney beans. Sometimes she had the audacity to use plain hamburger. Sometimes she let it simmer for a longer time. It’s even better second day, as most pasta dishes are.
For six servings, you’ll need:
1 box of bow tie pasta, do yourself a favor and buy Barilla (or use Mueller’s egg noodles)
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, loose or cut the casings and free the sausage yourself
4 cloves garlic
1 TBS olive oil
2 cans Hunts Traditional Spaghetti Sauce
1 TBS Italian seasoning
2 tsp. chili pepper flakes (if you like it spicy)
1 can whole black olives, drained and halved
A little Parmesan or mozzarella or whatever cheese makes you happy to top this off with
Heat your skillet with the oil until it starts to shimmer, add the garlic and stir continuously for about a minute. Add the sausage and cook thoroughly while breaking it up with the spoon. This should be in pretty fine crumbles. When the sausage is cooked, add the sauce, spices, and olives and set to simmer while the pasta cooks. Cook the pasta according to the box and drain. Mix the pasta and sauce and ladle into bowls. Top with cheese.
There is only one wine you can drink with this meal. It’s Reunite red. The really cheap red stuff. My grandma was a staunchly Republican, Church of Christ lady descended from generations of teetotal Ohioans. But every once in a while, she’d pull out the Reunite red and have a small glass of wine with her Glop. With a twinkle in her eye, she’d remind me that even Jesus turned water into wine and that Paul advised it to Timothy as a cure for dyspepsia.
It’s been ten years since my grandma passed away, but every time I gleefully announce “GLOP!” as I ladle this onto my seven-year-old son’s plate, a little bit of her mischief, of her love, lives on.