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Mom’s-Night-Off Dinner

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This menu was created with Mother's Day in mind but it's great for anytime you want to treat Mom.

This menu was created with Mother’s Day in mind but it’s great for anytime you want to treat Mom: simple fare that the kids can make (or help make) and that the whole family will love. Start off with a basic green salad with sweet peas and crunchy radishes, then move onto the best-ever spaghetti and meatballs. A messy-but-delicious swirl of crushed chocolate wafers and raspberry-tinged whipped cream ends things on a sweet note.

Menu Timeline

One day or at least 3 hours ahead:

  • Make the cookies & cream.

Two hours ahead:

  • Start the spaghetti sauce and let it simmer.

One hour ahead:

  • Make and fry the meatballs.
  • Cook the peas and prep the other vegetables for the salad.
  • Make the salad dressing.

Thirty minutes before dinner:

  • Add the meatballs to the spaghetti sauce to simmer
  • Cook the spaghetti; when it’s done, toss it with the sauce
  • Toss the salad with it’s dressing and serve.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 1 small head butter lettuce
  • 1 lb. fresh peas in the pod, or 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 bunch (6 medium) radishes
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh chervil
  • 1 bunch fresh tarragon
  • 1 bunch fresh chives
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 medium lemon

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 lb. ground veal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche
  • 3 oz. ricotta salata (optional)
  • 2 oz. imported Locatelli Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano (or 1 oz. of each), more for serving

Other Groceries

  • 3 28-oz. cans Italian plum tomatoes, whole or crushed, preferably San Marzano
  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti
  • 3 cups (about 12 oz.) frozen raspberries
  • 1-1/2 cups plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 package Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies

  • 1-3/4 cups olive oil
  • 5 Tbs. granulated sugar, more if needed
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Black peppercorns

The Menu


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