May 25, 2021

            The coffee is on; it is going to be a good day. That and there is a big pile of mulch in my driveway. That means I have joined the local gym by default. I will also be going to acupuncture this morning. If you asked me just five years ago if I would be having needles stuck in my body I would say what in the world did I ever do to you, but since then I witnessed its miraculous effects on others and decided to give it a try. All I can say is it works for me but I believed that it would. I also believe that the mind is a powerful thing that helps keep you healthy or can make you feel worse.  Enough philosophy before my first cup of coffee and so early in the morning. Let’s talk about food.

            Last night I asked the never ending question: “What do you want for dinner?” The reply came quickly. “Pappardelle in pink sauce.” I guess this pink sauce stuff is a hit. I paused pondering how in the world I was going to make Pappardelle when all I have ever used was fresh pasta that I purchased at Pastosa. Pastosa is the local store that sells mostly fresh pasta of all kinds.

            I blinked pondering all the ingredients my pantry. That is when Jennifer said, “We have some in the cabinet.”  An image of pasta flew into my brain. See, it a powerful thing if you don’t go killing your brain cells with alcohol every weekend. See kids don’t drink! Where was I? Oh yeah, so I went downstairs to discover that we did in fact have said item in the cabinet and it was a dried pasta from Trader Joe’s in a plastic bag. Their stuff is usually pretty good so what the hell, let’s make it for dinner.

            I put up the water to boil and defrosted my last quart of homemade meat sauce. Now traditionally I wound have used this sauce right on the pappardelle but as luck would have it I had heavy cream. I also like the pink sauce because my stomach has been cranky and mad at me so I too opted for the cream sauce just like it was suggested.

            I opened the fringe to pick out a vegetable. My mother ALWAYS yelled at me when I was a kid for standing in front of the refrigerator and just staring into it. This happened more so particularly during the summer. We had no central air conditioner in the house and it got warm in the kitchen somedays. Staring in and at first glance, I spied the Zucchini. This old stand by was my first thought as a side dish. Then I saw not one but TWO bags of prewashed baby spinach. Regular spinach can be a bare to wash and get the sand out of but prewashed baby spinach is easy peazy. I got out my big ass All-Clad pan and added two cloves of sliced garlic to it. I added two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons olive oil. Then turned the heat on low. I headed it up slowly until it started to sizzle and then turned off the heat. I let it sit like that, as I waited for that dam water to boil and the sauce to defrost. Time for a beer I thought. Dam no Peroni.

            I put the defrosted sauce in a medium saucepot and heated it up over medium high heat. Making sure to stir it and then turn it down to low once it came to a simmer.

            I spied the French bread on the counter and thought Mmmm garlicky bread. I buttered it up. Sprinkled it with garlic power. Then stuck it under the broiler to turn a lovely shade of brown. Then turned off the oven but kept the bread warm in it. Making sure it was not still toasting.

            The water was boiling by now. Add pasta. Set timer to package directions. I turned the pan on high heat and added half the spinach to the pan. Then began to sauté it in the garlic, olive oil, and butter. Yum!

            I added butter and cream to the sauce. I left it on low heat as the pasta cooked. It would not be long now. The first batch of spinach cooked down a quiet a bit and I added the second half to the pan. I add salt and fresh ground black pepper, then tossed it coating the spinach very quickly with the butter, olive oil and garlic. Then I turned off the heat. I did not want it all to be mushy so some leaves were just covets with the oil and garlic.

            Ding! The pasta was done. Drain and plate. Mix a ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese into the sauce now and pour over pasta. Plate the Spinach. Cut bread & plate. Serve with crushed red pepper on the side

            Now most people would call this Italian food. As Americans, we change everything. So weather its food from a country of our lineage or a country we would just like to go visit (like Italy) or a country we would probably never go to but are willing to try the food from, like Humus. We change it, adopt it to our life style and then make it for family and friends when it is good. Did you know that if it weren’t for the solders coming back from Italy after WWII and starting the first Pizza places in places like NY we would never have pizza here in America! What is more American then New York City Pizza? I have not tried pizza it in Chicago yet but plan too one day!

            Pappardelle, that was what was for dinner last night. Time for me to run and start my day. I hope you get to enjoy this meal. I found it tasty with a small glass of of red wine. Shhh it was from France but it was still good and went well!

            Until tomorrow stay healthy, be happy and eat well!

            The Drunken Chef (Russ)

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