Every evening when my husband Jim comes home from work, he flings open the front door, steps in, and calls out, “Where’s my family?” This is his version of “Honey I’m hooome”. If I’m lucky, I’ll just be getting dinner started when he walks through the door, but on this particular night, dinner was cooked and warming on the stove, and my son, my wine, and I were waiting for him. “Mmmm! Smells like Original Joe’s dinner,” I heard him say as he climbed the stairs. He was right! We were having chicken parmesan, meat ravioli in red sauce, and Caesar salad—exactly what we used to order every time we ate at that beloved San Francisco institution, Original Joe’s, before a fire closed it down in 2007.
My family loves that dinner. It brings back great memories and it’s like eating out, but in the comfort of our own home. It’s quite simple to make—especially the ravioli. I buy the little frozen ones at my supermarket (I prefer the smaller to the larger size). To make them, I bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the ravioli, and cook them until they just begin to rise to the surface. Into the colander they go to drain, then back into the pot. To the cooked ravioli I add regular canned tomato sauce and a big slab of butter, then let it simmer over medium heat until the butter melts. I add salt and pepper, a big handful of chopped parsley, and lots of grated parmigiano-reggiano. Then we dig in! —Julia Lee