Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bad (Pasta) Romance

...Give me Reason, but don’t give me Choice, I’ll just make the same mistake again....”
--James Blunt, Same Mistake
A beautifully heartbreaking song about a relationship filled with pain and sorrow, in which I face the Ishbel shawl.  I’m frogging her for the last time and setting the beautiful Verb yarn aside for another project.  It’s a relationship in which we count points against each other in daily battles and never triumph.  Farewell, beautiful shawl, we were never meant to be.
My second triple-cable sock in Sanguine Gryphon Bugga yarn is steaming along, and will be my Vegas weekend vacation knitting.  It seems to speed along so fast when I’m counting repeats, that there will, in a blink, be only the interminable heel flap before the exquisite delight of heel-turning and the blind run through the foot to the Dance of the Toe Graft.  I love heels and toes.  They’re delicate bits of magic and math and physics.  Suddenly vertical stitches are horizontal! End of a tube? Shazzam--No SEAM!!!  The knitting runs over the edge and just keeps running right back to the heel! MAGIC, I TELL YOU!!!  And **I** can do it! 
It’s a new relationship, a new outlook, a new conquest!
As in knitting, so with cooking.  A work mate, a lovely, funny Israeli girl, is leaving. Her husband’s contract job is ending here so they are heading home after two and a half years.  We bid farewell to her with a potluck after work Sunday afternoon which, as you may imagine, at a spice shop is a pretty smashing shindig.  I was making Mac & Cheese, using jack cheese, chipotle, chili flakes, bacon and brown rice penne.  
I seem to know a growing number of Gluten-Free people, and have been noting the growing number of Gluten-Free products on the market.  So I read up and asked around and bought the Hodgson Mill Brown Rice Penne.  Usually, in a dish like this where you will have a secondary cooking stage, you pull the pasta a couple minutes early, when it is just pre-al dente.  Due to a kitchen snafu, I left it in 3 minutes past when I would have drained it.
Huge mistake.  In the colander, it appeared quite pale and overly inflated.  But I was determined to stay on schedule, and found I somehow had run through my entire back stock of pasta (stupidstupidstupid).  So I popped it in the pot to heat-dry and added the butter, then the liquid.  I knew then disaster loomed, but I charged ahead, straight into a relationship I knew was troubled in the first go-round.  I stirred and noticed some tube breakage. I added the cheese.  Like consecrating a terrible affair with a trashy wedding and kids.  Just throwing in all the binders and valuables knowing full well the end was nigh and it was gonna be ugly.
The pasta disintegrated with every stir.  Disintegrated.  To the molecular level. I shouted, derided, accused, to no avail.  So I threw the pirate spatula down and walked away.  Divorced of the entire venture.
A couple of minutes later, I decided to try dating again.  I reached for my purple Cuisinart Thunderstick.  
If you don’t have a stick blender, go buy one for about $30 or $40 at Sur La Table, Amazon, or somewhere and do it quick-like.  Anything that seems like a dauntingly large task or unsalvageable situation because it would require the use and cleaning of a blender or multiple batches in the food processor suddenly, like a good therapist, becomes easily dealt with when faced with a Stick.  It goes straight into any pot, pan or dish your food already occupies and deals with it.
So I plugged him in and plunged into a new relationship.  With Cheese and Bacon Soup.  Turns out, once you blend all that milk, eggs, spices and cheese with the pasta; then add more milk and the bacon, what you get is perfect soup.  The rice pasta and butter that were the base of the Mac & Cheese turned into a roux and the rest became the cheesy, bacon-y goodness.  Thick, rich, savory, spicy bacon-y goodness. 
I know this is gonna seem weird and all, but since I took my new date to a work ‘do and he didn't drink all the beer and dance on the counter singing  Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy loudly to himself, I will share my unconventional new boyfriend with you here.  I state in the directions to add milk until the soup reaches desired consistency, and I like a nice thick cheese soup.  So I add the buttermilk, then add whole milk until it’s as loose as I want it.  Just what you want in a good partner, right?
4 ounces ANY brown rice pasta
4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
4 ounces evaporated milk
6 ounces buttermilk
12-16 ounces whole milk
2 Tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
1teaspoon dry mustard
1teaspoon Chipotle powder
1.5 teaspoon Chili Flakes
2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoon Onion Powder
10 ounces Monterrey Jack, shredded
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta 12 minutes and drain. It will look pale and bloated, like a bad ex. Return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.

2. Whisk together the eggs, add evaporated milk, 2 ounces buttermilk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and spices. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. 

3. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

4. Apply stick blender, adding first 4 ounces buttermilk, then whole milk until soup is desired consistency.

5. Stir in bacon, or crumble on top, as desired.

I'm sure you can see the attraction, and this time All *I* Need Is Love--and Bacon.  Bon Appetite!
Pin It Now!

No comments:

Post a Comment