This recipe came out of a desire to cook something quick and tasty, and also use up all of my sad fridge vegetables (TM). We’ve been getting Oddbox, a service that sends surplus or weirdly shaped vegetables for cheap, which is great, but then we have to figure out what to do with everything.
The heat wave finally broke this weekend, which means I finally felt like cooking again for the first time in a long time. I had wanted to make a kind of cold peanut noodle soba edamame chicken bowl thing when it was hot, but it was literally too hot to even think about turning on the stove. We boiled water once for pasta and as soon as it was done we had to fill the pot with cold water to stop it heating up the entire kitchen.
I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like cold soba noodles with a sweetish peanut sauce is both delicious and extremely obvious, by this point. I never tend to worry too much about food trends (“Quiche is so 80’s!”? whatever, Gladys, quiche is delicious.) But you do tend to get bored.
I’m going to level with you guys – last week was all fun and games with the elaborate frosting techniques, but, much like Icarus, I have flown too close to the sun, and by “flown” I mean “walked” and by “the sun” I mean “the ground”. Did you guys know I walked OUTSIDE? To get VACCINATED? That was a mistake on my part (the walking, not the vaccination). I’m ready for the peg leg. I could switch it out for a wheel when I need to go fast, or a ski in the wintertime. If you have working feet and ankles, give them a little smooch. Moving around is a privilege, not a right.
Long story short, it’s getting very Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine in here. (Grandma Josephine is what I call the pile of sixteen pillows I use to keep this foot elevated.) It’s like for the home stretch (hopefully?) of pandemic quarantine existence I get to do it on Turbo Mode.
So, as I write you this from my 1930’s baby cage, we’re gonna talk about something I don’t have to get up and go make, because I’ve made it a billion times before. We’re making it in the glorious kitchen wing of my mind-palace, which looks exactly like Ina Garten’s kitchen in the Hamptons. We’re making mac and cheese.
Whenever my dad goes out of town, my mom makes something called Snaffles Mousse, which is the drag queen who gets kicked off Drag Race UK in week one a military-grade garlic dip pungent enough to kill a vampiric horse. Eat it on Ruffles, or use it to fumigate your house!
Many of us grew up with a healthy fear of Too Much Garlic, but I don’t live that life anymore. This spaghetti made me rethink my entire relationship to the garlic arts. Welcome to the Cult of the Midnight Pasta. We have fabulous robes, and we don’t care what our breath is like.
This recipe comes from Ina Garten, but you can find versions of it everywhere. It’s called midnight pasta, because apparently it’s the comfort food chefs make for themselves when they get home at 3am after a 15-hour shift. It’s middle-of-the-night-staring-into-the-fridge food. It’s macaroni and cheese if you’re fancy as hell. It’s butter noodles on steroids. And it uses an entire head of garlic.
Best of all, it takes literally 20 minutes, and it makes a sensational frittata for lunch the next day. Like nearly all good pasta sauces, it’s thrown together quickly with stuff you have around. It’s Italian stir-fry. All you need is parsley, red pepper flakes, garlic, and parmesan.
Quitters never win, but sometimes winners make the entire package of pasta out of sheer noodle-based gluttony and then, well, what are you going to do with half a pound of perfectly good cacio e pepe? Throw it out? Give up on your dreams?
Fritatta is something I can never spell right on the first try, but it just means “fried” in Italian. The Pinterest People are posting recipes for “easy frittata” that start with frying bacon and wilting spinach and chopping healthy things like butternut squash and beets and arugula, but to me a frittata is always the answer to “how can I de-sog this pasta”, and also “how can I make something tasty in 15 minutes or less without trying that hard.”
Fritattas where you have to do a bunch of work are, not to put too fine a point on it, dumb. I’m not chopping extra stuff or finishing anything under the broiler to make what is essentially a glorified omelette. Fritattas are about two things: the cheap thrill of successfully flipping an entire pan of leftover pasta, and elevating your sad soggy leftovers into a crispy treat.