Monday, January 25, 2010

Meat Sauce is like the Little Black Dress

My entry for this week's Presto Pasta Night, hosted by Chaya of Sweet & Savory, is Chili Mac. I understand the "chili" part of the name - after all red kidney beans and meat sauce is the base for many a great chili, but where is the "mac" part? I mean, seriously, when I think of macaroni (which is what mac is short for typically) I think creamy and cheesy. And, as the picture shows, there's no sign of any of what is typically a mac dish. But while I have you musing over that ....
...I need to back this story up a they do in Crime shows on TV. A few weeks ago, my daughter was telling me that a local hot dog establishment called Steamy's, really reminded her of the best "steamies" from Montreal's greasy spoon take out joints on "The Main" or Rue St Laurent and the steamed hot dogs sold at the Montreal Forum (now defunct...or at least used for something other than hockey games) .

Naturally I had to try it out and in addition to regular steamies, they had another thing on the menu that I haven't had since I was a teen....Michigan Dogs! Needless to say, I was excited.... unfortunately, it isn't very popular and, although it's still on the sign board over the counter, they don't make them any more. So, I went off with my '60's style steamy and a burger that was reminiscent of the Orange Julep and went home, tasty, but not a Michigan.
And for those of you unfamiliar with a Michigan Dog -it's a steamed hot dog in a bun, topped with spicy meat sauce and raw chopped onion - and the very thought of it kept me drooling and obsessing. So...wanting to use up some of the frozen Italian sausages and ground beef in my freezer anyway, and because a hearty meat sauce like Grandma Hazel's is perfect winter food, I had all the fixings for a great Michigan Dog, which by the way, tasted as good as I remember.

And reminiscing naturally brought me back to a wonderful Montreal restaurant, long gone - Piazza Tomasso. For special family outings we'd get dressed up and enjoy Magic Tom do his tricks and, of course eat some delicious Italian food. The dish I remember best, and the one that wasn't even on the menu....and how did my father even find out about it anyway?...oh well, I'm just glad he did...was Chili Mac. Sometimes, he would even stop off on the way home and do a take out. Probably the first restaurant dish I remember and still drool over. In fact, if you're lucky you can find Tomasso's lasagna or meat sauce in you grocer's freezer. Unfortunately, not in Halifax, but then I can whip up a close facsimile of my own.

Which all brings me back to this week's Presto Pasta Night. Are you going to try something different than you usually do or something soul warming from your past? Don't forget to send your entries to chayathecomfycook (at) yahoo (dot) com and cc me - ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com.

If you'd like to be a PPN host, just drop me a line. February 26th and beyond are open.


Bellini Valli said...

I need to break out my blanket and a good book I am so comforted by this dish Ruth.

George Gaston said...

Ruth, I like the way you think! A meat sauce is a classic base sauce with the individual cook putting his or her mark on it. Much like a men's blue blazer with a tie that makes a statement or that woman in her little black dress adding a bit of jewelry.

Great recipe for your Presto Pasta series...

Joanne said...

This is definitely the little black dress of the pasta world. Everyone has a recipe for it, one that is reliably fantastic, and that you could whip out whenever you want to impress someone.

Looks fabulous.