I have been thinking ever since of my discovery of her books in the very early '80s, but equally, of her spirit. Along with MFK Fisher, Marcella Hazan opened my eyes to the arts of the table, to the idea that a three-hour dinner was desirable.
It was from Hazan I learned to roast a chicken with two lemons in the cavity, something my Midwestern American mother, who had only ever packed the bird with bread dressing, found fascinating: a bit like cheating, but really good.
But my first thought, when I heard that she had died, was, That Tomato Sauce.
Its fragrance simmering the stove affected men more powerfully than my perfume (Opium, segueing as the decade wore on to Lancôme's Magie Noir.) I served it with real shredded Parmesan (I was just learning about that, too—no more powdery, tasteless wax in a shaker can) and freshly-baked foccacia.
As the years passed, I sometimes thought about cutting back on the butter, but why? Marcella's sauce is an alchemic combination that five-alarms the brain's pleasure center, including that of the cook's, because it returns so much goodness for so little work.
|Photo: Adam Roberts, The Amateur Gourmet|
Adam Roberts, who writes the ebullient food blog, The Amateur Gourmet, has re-published the recipe, with photos and his own heartfelt homage, here.
As Roberts says, "The recipes we leave behind are powerful things."
If you could be remembered for one stellar dish, what might it be?