For me, the ultimate comfort food is a plate of spaghetti and meat sauce made the way my mother used to make it.  As I have said on this site (see recipe), this is not authentic Italian food.  This is the way Betty made it in Anniston, Alabama, with dried spaghetti from a box and a sauce made with ground beef.  In fact, my addition of spice evolved over the years, and when I made this dish this weekend, the sauce ingredients were the following:  A little less than a pound of ground chuck, one large yellow onion, half a green bell pepper, half a red bell pepper, minced garlic, 3/4 large can of tomato sauce, 1/2 large can of petite diced tomatoes, 1/2 small can of tomato paste, 1 sugar cube, one bouquet garni with fresh oregano and fresh thyme, some dried oregano and a smidgeon of fennel seeds.  I cooked the sauce while I slow-watched movies and talked to dogs and did laundry.  I warmed up some of Dorignac’s amazing Italian bread.  And I poured a really fantastic Italian Valpolicella.  It was the perfect Saturday night after a long week.  It was restorative and comforting and familiar and delicious.

This was a grocery store door prize, in that I grabbed it off the shelf without any notion of how good it would be.  It came out of the bottle with a huge floral, fruity, spicy aroma.  It had a smooth mellow mouthfeel, not a lot of acid.  I tasted chocolate and prunes, but the fruit was not mushy or overripe.  The Frederick Wildman web site described the wine as dense with fresh berries, elegant, with a hint of dark chocolate.  The reviewer at Wine Enthusiast said it tasted of raisins and tobacco.  I didn’t get the tobacco, frankly.  But this was a special bottle, perhaps paired more perfectly with venison or Gorgonzola, but I was eating spaghetti with meat sauce and so it was a perfect pairing as far as I was concerned. LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH.

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