Our Beach Pasta Surprise. This is more of a story than a recipe but somewhere in the story is sort of a recipe.
Each year, starting, I believe, in 1995, with the exception of 2 or 3 years, we have taken the entire family to the beach so that we all could have a week of relaxed togetherness. It started with one house and as the family grew so did the size of the house. We now are a family of 20+ so we are in two houses, side-by-side. This is especially great for the grandchildren as they get to spend time with their cousins. It’s an even better time for me as I get to have my entire family together, with Charlie and me, for a week.
We never go out to eat. In the summertime, with a family of 20+, that would be an impossible situation. Besides we are a family of cooks. Each night a different family cooks and the grandkids help with the clean-up. (However, a new tradition started 2 years ago when the grands took a night and showed us all how comfortable they are in the kitchen.) We all sit down to enjoy dinner together. The meals have been nothing short of delicious. Breakfast is prepared in the morning and a multitude of sandwiches are made soon after in sort of production line fashion. Generally, we are on the beach by 10:30. It’s a day of games, reading, napping and swimming.
I wanted our Sunday meal to be similar to our traditional spaghetti and meatball meal that we enjoy when home. So, three years ago we hauled the sauce, pasta, big pots and frozen meatballs, etc. to the beach. All well and good but still a lot of work. Then I came up with a Sunday Beach Recipe. All things I can get done in advance. During the week I made the sauce but instead of regular size meatballs I made them the size of ping pong balls or a bit smaller. On Friday, I made a few very large pasta casseroles and imbedded the meatballs throughout the layers of pasta and cheese, ricotta and shredded mozzarella. Almost like a Lasagna. Topped the casseroles with sauce and packed them well first with saran, then foil and then refrigerated them. Placed them in the cooler just before leaving for the beach very early Saturday morning, with a few containers of extra sauce and grated cheese and all was ready for our Sunday night traditional dinner. It was a success, so on the list to do again for all the following years!