In my family we always say that you can get further with a few steaks and a kind word than with just a kind word. This is a philosophy that I definitely put to the test. When I was younger, I used my access to put meat-the fact that I was known as the guy who could get you whatever kind of meat you wanted-as a bargaining commodity. I used to get access to night clubs in Manhattan when I was underage, to get out of speeding tickets, and to get permission from fathers to date their daughters. And at home, after school, sometimes I'd say, "Hey, Dad, can you give me some steaks? I'm going over to Norma Jean's to trade for a macaroni pie." Norma Jean was my best friend in high school. The pie is a mix of sautéed meats and spaghetti with just enough egg to bind it; it's pan-fried in olive oil so it gets golden and crispy on the outside. Norma Jean's mother, who was from Abruzzi, Italy, made hers with Genoa salami and pepperoni, but I substitute Italian Sausage for the pepperoni. I've never seen anything like this dish except coming out of Norma Jean's mother's kitchen or my own, which something, considering all the restaurants I've eaten in. If you are making your own sausage for this, note that you don't need to stuff it, as you'll be cooking the sausage meat loose.
1 pound sweet Grandpa Italian Style Pork Sausages
Kosher salt, for the pasta water
1 pound spaghetti
6 large eggs
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 4 ounces)
4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces sliced Genoa salami (about 24 slices), julienned
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
SERVES 6 TO 8
1.Take the sausage out of the casings if it is stuffed and put the meat in a large skillet. Cook it over medium-high heat, breaking it up while it cooks, until it’s cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage from the heat, drain off the fat, and set the Sausage aside to cool to room temperature.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt (about 1 tablespoon per quart), then add the pasta and cook until it’s not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the time given on the package. Drain and set the pasta aside to cool to room temperature.
3.Inalarge bowl, beat together the eggs, pecorino, and pepper. Stir in the salami. Add the cooled pasta and sausage and stir to combine. (If the pasta or sausage is still warm, the heat will cook the eggs in the bowl, which you don’t want to do.)
4. In a large high-sided skillet, heat half of the oil over medium heat until it slides easily in the pan, about 2 minutes. Add the pasta mixture and spread it out evenly. Push down on the pasta with a dinner plate to encourage it to brown and cook until the bottom is browned and crispy in places, about 6 minutes. To flip the pie, place the plate on top of the pasta and invert the pie out of the pan onto the plate. Add the remaining ¼ cup oil to the pan and slide the pie off the plate into the pan with the uncooked side down. Cook until the second side is browned, about 6 minutes. Slide the pie onto a plate and serve warm or at room temperature.