Funnies for the Foodies: Sauces and a dash of Blasphemy

Portobello Pasta

4 oz Smoked or Cured Italian Ham (Cubed)
1 Medium Onion (Medium chop)
4 Portobello Mushroom Caps (Sliced)
4 Cloves Garlic (Thinly sliced)
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus drizzle...)
1/4 cup Heavy Cream (Bring up to room temp)
1 Pint Whole Milk Ricotta (Bring up to room temp)
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
Coarsely ground or cracked Black Pepper to taste
1 lb Pasta of choice (Rigatoni works well)

Heat large saute pan to Med-hi
Add Olive oil & allow to heat
Add garlic and saute 1 minute
Add ham and onions and saute 3-5 minutes
(Start pasta water)
Reduce heat to Medium
Distribute mixture evenly in pan and lay mushrooms on top
Cover pan and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes
Onion, garlic & ham should brown nicely while mushrooms steam
When pasta water is boiling, reduce heat under mixture to low (begin cooking pasta) and then add cream to mixture and re-cover saute pan
Remove mixture from heat when pasta is nearly ready and set aside
Drain pasta and drizzle with Olive oil
Fold in Mushroom Mixture
Fold in Ricotta
Sprinkle with Romano and coarsely ground pepper
Put on your 'eating clothes', make happy, piggy, snarfling noises and then tuck in.

Pignoli Toss 
...or some mess I sorta made up from odds 'n ends

1/2 Cup Pignoli
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Large or 2 Medium Onion(s) - Large Chop
8 - 10 Cloves of Garlic - Crush Flat & Rough Chop
1 Cup Freshly Grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 Cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs
Cracked or Roughly Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 Pound Pasta of Choice (Fafarelle is very nice with this)

Toast Pignoli in a hot dry pan (2-3 minutes Med-Hi) moving nuts constantly, allow to brown slightly and then remove from pan and set aside.
Add oil to pan & allow to heat
Add onions and garlic, reduce heat slightly and saute until translucent
Add pignoli to pan, reduce heat to Low and cook additional 5 minutes*
Toss over favorite prepared pasta, folding in grated Romano
Sprinkle with bread crumbs and pepper to taste
Spectacular with a classic roasted chicken & fresh spinach

*Mixture can be used as base for spinach/veggie saute (Yum!) or turned into a creamy sauce by blending & straining - add a little lemon juice or balsamic vinegar for acid and then use hot or cold over pasta or protein (Yum, yum!!)

You can, of course, add a butt-load of basil to the blend and "go-go-pesto" but I think that is rather a predictable plot point.

Plus, green sauces just smack of unpleasantly smug, vegan-nazi self righteousness, don't you think?

Pasta ala Puttanesca 
Pasta with Whore's Sauce

2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion (Chopped)
6 Cloves Garlic (Med. Sliced)
1 Oz. Anchovies (Or more to taste)
1 Can (32 Oz.) Italian Plum Tomatoes with fluid (Chop or Slice)
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1 Bay Leaf
3 Small (1 Inch) Dried Red Peppers
1 Cup Whole Black Olives (Pitted)
2 Tablespoons Capers
1 Pound Pasta ~ Spaghetti is traditional but I prefer Bucatini or Perciatelli

Heat a deep skillet to Medium-Hi
Add Olive Oil and Butter
When blended and bubbling add Onion Garlic and Anchovies
Saute 3-5 minutes and then reduce heat to Medium
Add Tomatoes, Oregano, Bay Leaf & Peppers
Cover and cook at a Hi-Simmer for 5 - 10 Minutes
Reduce heat to low and add Olives and Capers
Simmer on Low for 10 - 15 minutes

Dump sauce over a full pound of pasta in a large bowl.
Add a sprinkling of black pepper ~
Resist the temptation to add cheeses as this may well "push" the saltiness factor into the "Oh my God I think I'm having a heart attack" range.
Goes very well with seafood of all kinds. Make sure to have lots of crusty bread for dipping.

For those interested Bucatini means "Little Holes" and Perciatelli means "Hollow Inside" ~
Combine either with Whore's Sauce and you have both a tasty, carb-ilicious fun fest as well as a stern indictment on the socio-economic failings that leave so many women with so few choices.

Power to the people my sister-woman-sister!

Sunday Granny Gravy ~ If you can find the time in your busy schedule to visit, that is...
You no Eat? Maybe I no know how to cook?

Another recipe and this is the big one folks. 
Takes all day and you'd better eat a lot or the guilt bomb will send you into double therapy sessions.

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion diced
10 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup oregano (dried)
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
2 sprigs fresh basil chopped
2 cans crushed plum tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce or puree
1 can whole plum tomatoes
(All cans are large variety. 32 oz.? I dunno, why so anal? Go check for yourself.)
3 medium (1.5 inch) dried red peppers
2 bay leaves

Heat a deep pot to med-hi and add olive oil
Saute onion and garlic until onion is just beginning to get translucent
Add oregano, pepper and basil.
After you have finished swooning from the heavenly aroma, reduce heat to med-lo.

Add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce & stir, stir, stir, stir, stir.
Slice or chop whole tomatoes and add with juices:

Following true Italian Granny tradition, throw a bit of water into one of the cans, and swirl it around and around, then transfer the results from can to can, repeating the process until you have captured all of the possible remnants of tomato... and add that to the pot as well.

Additional note for the true purist:
Occasionally gesture at the sky with your right forefinger, raising your voice in 
triumph when making a particularly important point in conversation.

Add bay leaves and dried peppers and then reduce heat to lowest possible setting.
Simmer on low for 6 to 8 hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes.

If it burns then dinner is ruined.

I will often cook whole pork loin in the sauce - brown lightly and then add to pot 1 hour into cooking time. Thoroughly cooked and drained sausage or meatballs should be added an hour before serving.
Remove meat and serve separately.This sauce will stand up to the heartiest pasta, is perfect for lasagna, baked ziti, stuffed shells and also freezes spectacularly.

If you try to make this sauce in a crock pot you will be disappointed ...and probably burn in hell.

Rack o' Lamb o' God with Rosemary and Garlic

So good that Jesus wept!
Rub the rack with freshly crushed garlic while reflecting on those things that you have done in the past year that have made Jesus cry.

Prepare Rosemary - Try to get long branches of rosemary so that you can flog yourself while rocking back and forth on your knees and calling out "Mea Culpa" repeatedly as tears coat your keening, guilt wracked face.

-Shake a handful of the fresh rosemary leaves free and roll the rack in them along with a liberal amount of crushed black pepper and sea salt, while trying not to think of that camping trip with Father MacNulty.

Grill the rack over medium heat, burning the remainder of the rosemary on the coals (or in a foil wrapped package inside your gas grill). The smoke will infuse the rack beautifully and as it rises to the sky will carry your sins away.

Invite over a couple of thick-necked guys named G√ľnther and start racking up sins for next year.

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