Great Sunday Dinners

    This family dinner menu is great for a Sunday. Get your partner (mother, friend, dog) to occupy the kids while you make the meatballs. They are not too time-consuming but do require some concentration. The meatballs can simmer away for the afternoon and you only need to make your spaghetti, garlic bread and peas later. The garlic bread takes 15 minutes and is so good, you may want to double the recipe. I have one of those colander things INSIDE my pasta pot, and if you have the same, you can drain the pasta once its cooked, put the colander back in the boiling water and throw the frozen peas in for three minutes while you are plating up the pasta. My kids like peas plain so I do a bowl for them and one for the “grownies” as my daughter calls us. It requires nothing more than a squeeze of lemon juice, torn basil, a drizzle of good olive oil and a little Maldon sea salt for good measure.



    • Garlic Bread
    • Julia's Turkey Meatballs
    • Spaghetti
    • Steamed Peas

    Garlic Bread

    This dressing is the jam! Great on salad and also as a dip for vegetables. This recipe makes enough dressing for two salads, so be sure to save the extra.

    Serves: 4
    Time: 15 minutes

    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) lightly salted butter, room temperature
    • 5 cloves garlic, pushed through a press
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 baguette
    • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan

    1.Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

    2.Stir together the butter, garlic, parsley and pepper until well combined. Cut the baguette in half horizontally and spread each cut side with the garlic butter, being sure to use every last bit. Sandwich the bread back together, wrap in a sheet of tin foil and put in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler, unwrap the bread, evenly sprinkle the parmesan over both sides of the bread and broil until the cheese is melted and browned. Check after one minute. I burn mine by accident 50% of the time, so keep an eye out! Cut into pieces and serve.

    Julia's Turkey Meatballs

    My dear friend Julia is a fantastic cook. She once made these meatballs and I immediately asked her if I could steal the recipe.

    Serves: 4 (makes about 2 dozen small meatballs)
    Time: an hour, plus at least 20 minutes of simmering

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus 2 additional tablespoons
    • 1 large yellow onion, very finely diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
    • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
    • coarse sea salt
    • freshly ground pepper
    • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, pulsed in a food processor with their juice or crushed by hand
    • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
    • zest of 1/2 lemon
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
    • 1 pound ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
    • 1 egg
    • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked just before serving
    • 1/4 cup basil leaves, roughly torn

    1.Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about eight minutes, sweating it without giving it too much color. When it’s soft, add the garlic and fennel seeds and season generously with salt and pepper (about a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper should do). Sauté for an additional three or four minutes. Remove and reserve half of this onion mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes and their juice to the remaining mixture in the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer while you make the meatballs. Be sure to put a little water in the tomato can, swish it around and add it to the pot (don’t waste a bit!).

    2.To make the meatballs, combine the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, parsley, thyme and rosemary with the reserved onion mixture. Add the turkey and egg and mush it all with your hands (the best tool for this job) just until everything is well-combined, don't over mix. Form the mixture into 1-1/2" balls with your hands (of course you can make them whatever size you like). Heat the last two tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Making sure not to overcrowd the pan, brown the meatballs (should take about five minutes). Put the browned meatballs into the simmering tomato sauce and let them cook, shaking the pot occasionally to roll the meatballs around, for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour and a half. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve with spaghetti and the torn basil.

    Steamed Peas

    Serves: 4
    Time: two to three minutes

    • 2 cups freshly shelled or frozen peas
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • a squeeze of lemon
    • a pinch each of coarse salt and pepper
    • a few leaves of basil, torn

    Steam the peas for two to three minutes. Serve plain for the kids and dress with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper and basil for the adults.

    Next Week

    Next week we ask some experts (mothers included) to express their experienced opinions on the art of raising children.

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