Pasta, Pink Sauce and Garlic Bread

May 12, 2021

            The dishes are done. Lunch is made (for Jennifer) and the coffee is percolating, so it won’t be long until I feel more awake.

            I cooked last night. I know, I can’t believe it either but I did. Well, I sort of cooked. The sauce was leftover homemade meat sauce that I froze a month or so ago. The pasta I choose was De Cecco Shells. I had purchased them on sale after a coworker had recommended De Cecco pasta. Thanks Pete, they were delicious and I will be buying more De Cecco pasta the next time I see it on sale!

            I put up a big pot of water to boil. I added salt and a bit of olive oil. My mom always added oil to the pot of water. She said it kept the pasta from sticking. I don’t know about that but its tradition.  My wife would not want her haunting us just because I didn’t put oil in the pasta water, I’m sure.  Personally, I wouldn’t mind a visit once every blue moon.

            I defrosted the sauce in the microwave. Yes, I own one! Sheesh, I don’t make everything from scratch. Jennifer uses it to reheat pizza in, although not for breakfast. For breakfast, my wife will just eat the pizza cold. Ew! I still have to heat the pizza stone up for that, but I digress.

            I added the quart of now defrosted sauce (see how fast that microwave is) to a medium size pot. Next, I heated it up on medium high and stirred it so I didn’t burn the bottom.

            By the time the sauce was warm and at a simmer the pasta water was boiling. I did the next logical step, and added the pasta to the WATER and gave it a stir. Then I set the timer. Please don’t overcook your pasta. It gets mushy. Usually the manufacture recommends a three-minute range. I boil it to where it’s right in the middle of that range unless I’m making Ziti but that’s a different recipe.

Let’s get back to that sauce. When it started to bubble, I turned the heat down to low and added the butter. I used 5 tablespoons of butter and as soon as it was melted, I turned off the heat. I grated ½ cup of some fresh parmesan cheese using a cheese grater with medium size holes.

I moved to the garlic bread. I sliced open the loaf using a bread knife cutting the bread long ways and buttered it. The bread was frozen and recently defrosted from French night. (You read about French night, right? It was fun. You should check out that article and let me know what you think.) For speed and efficiency and because the pasta was almost done and I was hungry and I wanted to eat soon so I sprinkled garlic powder onto the buttered French bread. This is my way of quickly and easily making garlic bread. This was not how I was taught to make garlic bread in school but I will do that recipe another time. Remind me, if I forget.  The buttered and garlicky bread then went under the broiler. Keep your eye on it. I have burnt a few loaves of bread in my day. Smoke alarms go off, there are people waving towels in the air. Doors get opened and people are screaming. It’s not pretty.

I look up at the pasta timer. Crap! The pasta is almost done! Quick, back to the sauce, I added the parmesan cheese and stirred. Lastly, I added just enough heavy cream (again left from French night) to make it pinkish as I stirred.

No sooner than I finished stirring, did the timer going off, saying, “Breads done!” I remove it without burning it or myself. Now the pasta timers going off! Luckily, somewhere in there I put my favorite collider in the sink and drained the pasta. I give it a few shakes to get the water out of all the shells and begin to plate it all up. Whew! Dinner is served! If you want, try sprinkling the pasta with some crushed red pepper and topping with more parmesan cheese its yummy. Serve this dish with a nice red wine (specifically a Chianti) or cold Peroni beer. I had neither, as last night was a Scout meeting. See I don’t drink every night.

Normally, I would say “That’s all for today and I’m off to work”, but I took the day off. I need to put together my brand new barbeque grill! I received it as a gift for my birthday/anniversary/father’s day. I’m excited to start grilling and barbequing and mansplaining the difference with a beer in one hand and maybe a cigar in the other!

See you tomorrow and until then: Be safe, be happy and EAT WELL!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

May 12, 2021

© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing,2021

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