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“You broke up?”, I asked my friend Maria, with many question marks in my sentence, emphasizing the surprise that her announcement caused me. It may not have been the ideal first answer but I had a second, somewhat better one. “Come home and I’ll cook for you and we’ll fall asleep on the sofas in the morning.”

We already know that life is far from perfect, but we also know that it can be made a little better if we have good food, good friends and a chance to talk about our feelings.

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They say that the first night of a breakup is the most difficult of a series of difficult days. Maybe not. In any case, you will have eaten a delicious pasta dish.

Pasta al Forno

  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of tomato paste
  • 3 sprigs of fresh basil
  • 3-5 tablespoons of water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 300 g minced beef (you can skip it if you want)
  • 500 g pasta, preferably rigatoni
  • 400g fresh mozzarella, roughly diced, drained
  • 5 large spoons of Parmesan cheese, grated

How to make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Make the sauce: Put a saucepan on low heat. Add the olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the tomato puree, basil and water.
  3. Add salt, pepper and if you want some chili flakes for extra flavor. Let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes and then add the minced meat. With a wooden spatula or spoon, break the minced meat into the sauce and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 25-30 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, simply add a little more water to thin it out. When it is ready, add the basil.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta: Put a large pot of salted water and boil the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta. Put the drained pasta in the pot. Add the sauce, one ladle at a time, mixing well between ladles to coat the pasta. Add half the mozzarella and half the parmesan, and mix gently.
  5. Pour the mixture into a small pan or pyrex and pour the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan on top. Bake in the oven until the surface is well browned, for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with a little olive oil.

If you still think the world is doomed, eat some ice cream. The next day everything will be a little better.