Weekend Recipe, pasta noir: Bush-Cheney’s Pasta of Mass Destruction (with a Texas longhorn beef chuck ragu)

Weekend Recipe: Bush-Cheney’s Pasta of Mass Destruction (with a Texas longhorn ragu)

“People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.” Gov. George Bush
“Go f*ck yourself.” Dick Cheney to Sen. Patrick Leahy during an exchange about Haliburton profiteering on the Senate floor, 07/2004.

17 army divisions
An axis of evil
1 letter
1 stamp
Haliburton tomatoes*
Haliburton tagliatelle**
Haliburton olive oil***
Haliburton basil…

*A real bargain at 56 dollars a can.
** So you ordered and paid for 7000 tons and got only 5. What’s a couple thousand tons of tagliatelle among friends?

***Hey, who says you can’t make black olive oil. They make black olives, don’t they?
Serves a few. Screws the rest of us.
   Pretend you’re stupid so you’ll get elected President. Not a problem. Then invade Iraq. Never mind that has nothing to do with pasta. Hell, we’d invade Italy if we had to. And we’d invade France jus’ for the fun of it.
   While you’re waiting for the next intelligence report (ha!) from Iraq put some water on to boil. Pour summa’ that I-talian Pasta in. Then open up a can a tomatoes and grab some of that smelly football-shaped stuff, summa’ that extra-virgle, extra-vrigin, extra-virgo,…summa’ that I-talian olive oil and put it all together in a pan on the front burner.  If it doesn’t look right after a few minutes, then dump everything into the blender an’ let it whirl around a bit.
   Oh shit! I forgot to put the lid on. Chi-rist! Will you look at that mess? That’s OK. We’ll jus’ leave it like it is and call the UN to come clean it up, order a pizza instead. Double cheese with jalapeno. Tee-off is in an hour. Fore!

link-readymade Texas longhorn beef shin ragu: https://pastaevangelists.com/products/pappardelle-with-longhorn-beef-shin-ragu-gf-available

for the ragu: 
about 5-600 grams or so of beef chuck or other slow cooking beef cut, cut into  baseball-ish sized chunks,
tbsp salt, +/-,
fresh ground black pepper,
about 3 tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, (red if possible. Never buy the chinese ones,)
a yellow or white onion medium sized,
a full cup’s worth of carrots and another of celery (freshly diced into small cubes,) 
4-600g crushed canned tomatoes depending on how tomatoey you want it,
1-2 tbsp tomato paste optional but adds stratification,
a couple cups of red wine, well structured,
thyme or other herb(s) or spice(s) to flavor,
Baking soda,

1-2 bay leaves (if you like it) 
….the usual. Pat dry the beef chunks, then brown after brushing with oil, salt flakes and pepper. Remove, lower the heat and add bit more oil, then add the sacred triad onion-carrot-celery until they’re just beginning to soften, then the garlic (I leave it whole but lightly crushed but you can dice and add a bit after – but be careful not to brown the pieces,) and once softened to translucency add the tomatoes, a little salt and pepper – not much. That you’ll want to adjust later, – and then a pinch or two of bicarbonate of soda, then a dash of sugar, then the beef back in, then add the wine, and finally fill over with water or broth if necessary and let her go slow, at least 2-3 hours plus but the more the better, on the lowest of heat in a big thick pot or pan that keeps a constant temperature. Add the herbs or spices during the cooking as appropriate (ie, the bay leaf is fine in the beginning but parsley only just before plating, thyme maybe half-way through) add the tomato paste about a half hour or so into the cooking and water as needed (or broth or milk.) When the meat is falling off the bone or if boneless when it’s already tender, remove the pieces and shred before re-placing into the pot and continue the cooking for another 30 min. or so. You can, if preferred, simply remove them entirely and use them a s second course or re-worked the next day – it’s the sauce itself with all that rich flavor that serves as a great condiment to some thick egg-noodle pasta (pappardelle). Adjust for salt and flavorings when you remove the meat. Grate some parmesan over top after plating if you like and serve with a well structured red…. and console yourself. Next year is an election year…   

weekend literary recipe – (pasta noir): Sappho’s Hot Pepper Bucatini (by S. Cook)


“I want neither the honey nor the bee.”


Red chili pepper on slate plate.The view from the top.


200 grams of bucatini

4-6 Roma tomatoes (the longer, firmer and thinner the better)

Olive Oil

2 Garlic cloves


Hot pepper

Serves 2. Of any, er, personal taste.

Choose firm ripe tomatoes. Do not skin the tomatoes but gently remove each protective stem to gain entrance to its interior. Insert two or three fingers, depending on tomato’s size, into the opening and massage. Massage gently but firmly until the flesh of the tomato has been turned into a thick red pulp. Gently extract through the opening, retaining the seeds.

Bring the resulting liquid to a low simmer and add the chopped garlic. Lubricate with olive oil and season with fresh basil, hot pepper and salt, adding other exotic herbs to suit personal taste.

Serve over a pasta with curves and/or holes so the sauce can penetrate.
Recipe by Susan Cook


The recipe: Put the noodles in salted water to boil. Lightly crush two garlic cloves and let them, along with one hot pepper, flavor some good olive oil in a pan on low heat for a few minutes, then remove. Add the chopped tomatoes after peeling and seeding. After a few minutes crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, then after a few more turn off the burner and add a few leaves of fresh sweet basil, and a little finely chopped fresh hot pepper. Once the noodles are ready, drain and add them to the sauce pan, toss, plate, then sprinkle with fresh olive oil to finish. In lieu of the garlic and oil, you can use pig cheek or other… any way you want it. Don’t inhibit – just let yourself go. Use bucatini noodles or a pasta with curves and/or holes so the sauce can, ah, penetrate. Serve with a simple red wine.



Weekend Recipe (pasta noir): Cleveland’s Sporting Iron Chef Pasta Mistakes (with lobster)

Cleveland’s Iron Chef Pasta Mistakes
“The mistake by the lake.” A frequently used description of Cleveland’s old municipal stadium

The shot
The swoon
The pass
The fumble
The drive
The decision…

Serves the greater Cleveland viewing area.

Doug Deiken: Well, Casey, it’s a cool day here at pasta stadium.

Casey Coleman: It sure is, Doug. But both teams are suited up and ready to rumble.

DD: And here comes the secret ingredient now…a major sports championship.

CC: Oh, my, that’s going to be a tough one for the Cleveland chefs.

DD: You bet it will. It’s not an ingredient usually used in traditional Cleveland cuisine.

CC: Certainly not. But there goes young Cleveland Iron chef LeBron James up to take the best picks he can find back into his half of the kitchen.

DD: And it seems he’s dividing up his helpers into 3 teams.

CC: Yes, and I think the 3rd squad seems to be preparing 3 separate pastas, so it looks like he’s going to go for 5 dishes in all.

DD: Just like the challengers.

CC: And what he’s doing now…

DD: Looks like he’s ordered his kitchen helpers Daugherty, Price and Nance to prepare a Rigatoni with meatball dish.

CC: Yes. Look how fast and perfectly Price is making the little balls…

DD: And tossing them to Daugherty while Nance peals the tomatoes.

CC: Mmm. It looks like it’s going to be a winner.

DD: Yes it does but, oh no, look…

CC: Yes, I see, challenger chef Jordan has broken free and…

DD: Oh, no! He’s fired a ball of salt into the sauce.

CC: Oh, dear…well, James still has 4 other teams working.

DD: He does. And sous-chef Hargrove looks like he has his squad cooking to perfection.

CC: Yes, a creative hollow tube of Pasta stuffed with, well, what is that…

DD: It looks like a seafood sauce.

CC: Yes, he has shrimp, mussels, tomatoes, basil, crabmeat and what is that…

DD: Looks like Marlin, I think.

CC: Yes, Marlin. How interesting. And helper Alomar is handing the tray over to helper Ramirez…

DD: As helper Nagy opens the oven door and,…uh-oh…

CC: Oh, dear. What a mess.

DD: Nagy must have slipped…

CC: Looked more like a swoon. Well, the floor in the kitchen can get a little slippery sometimes….

DD: It sure can. All that olive oil.

CC: How are the other 3 dishes doing?

DD: Well I just talked to LeBron and he said his 3rd team was having some trouble but now he’s confident that at least 3 dishes will come out just perfect.

CC: Let’s hope so. I’m getting hungry!

DD: Me, too! And here comes the first dish.

CC: Yes, seafood ravioli noodles stuffed with sea urchin, crabmeat, fresh parsley in a light scallop sauce.

DD: Yes and James explained to me the key to his ravioli is finishing it off at the last minute, otherwise the stuffing can get overcooked.

CC: But after the first 2 disasters I bet he’ll have a heart attack if this one doesn’t work out.

DD: He’s a little young for a cardiac arrest.

CC: A talented kid, though.

DD: So it’d be like a…cardiac kid, eh?

CC: Yeah. And here come the ravioli.

DD. Helper Sipe is throwing the little sacks into a bowl as helper Ozzie mixes them together…oh, my…

CC: Uh-ooh…

DD: Unbelievable. Well, I bet no one saw that coming.

CC: The ravioli being raided by the challengers…

DD: So that leaves only two other pastas.

CC: No, just one.

DD: One?

CC: Chef helper Byner just dropped the linguini with white truffles, shallots, cream and lobster all over the counter.

DD: …are we sure we want to see the rest of this?

CC: Well the last dish seems to be traditional, a little defensive but…

DD: …you know what they say. The best offense is a good defense.

CC: I thought it was the other way around.

DD: Anyway chef James calls this one ironically his ‘dawg-ragout’.

CC: It isn’t made with dog meat, is it?

DD: No – no. He says that is tastes so good that when people eat it, they start barking like a dog.

CC: Well then woof-woof! Let the dogs out!

DD: Helper Kosar already mixed in the cinnamon-spiced mixed meat ragout with the tagliolini.

CC. But who is that over there pushing and driving his dish to the table?

DD. Oh, no. Challenger chef Elway.

CC: Is he a friend of yours, Doug?

DD: I’m going home…

CC: Doug? Hey, Doug? Well, pasta fans, we’ll see if Iron Chef James has a trick up his sleeve that might save a win fer the home…wait a minute…

The recipe:  
The meat from 1 medium-sized lobster
200 grams of spaghetti
1 shallot
Extra-virgin olive oil
White truffle (or black)
Serves 2.
Take up a hobby. Yoga, maybe. Or cooking. If that doesn’t work, move to Baltimore. Er, maybe not Baltimore. Miami. Well, maybe not Miami either. Try Boston, well, no not Boston. Or Chicago. Atlanta? Or get used to saying it again and again: “Just wait till next year,” “Just wait till next year,” “Just wait til…”

In the meantime cut the meat from a medium-sized lobster into bite-sized chunks (6 medium-to-large fresh scampi can be used instead.) Then put the spaghetti on to boil in abundant salted water. Thinly slice a shallot (or one small, sweet red onion) and sauté in extra-virgin olive oil and a pat of butter. When the pasta is 4 minutes from being cooked add the fish and toss, seasoning lightly to taste, then add some cream and mix. Finely slice some white truffle into the pan, then drain and add the pasta. Toss well and plate, adding a few more slices of the truffle. Accompany with a well-structured white wine. Then turn on the game. Cleveland will lose again, of course, but at least you’ll have a reaaaly great meal. *

* coming soon – Cleveland’s rocking 52 year, 4-3 victory pasta supreme…

Weekend Literary Recipe: Pasta Noir – Gnocchi and Sauce (by Susan Cook-Abdallah)

Tolstoy’s Gnocchi and Sauce
(by Susan Cook-Abdallah)

“In historical events great men – so called – are but labels serving to give a name to the event.” War and Peace bk. 4, pt 3, ch. 1


For the sauce:

  • 2 fresh pork sausages
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 800 grams of broccoletti
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 hot pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Basil
  • 1 dacha in the Russian countryside, NOT on the verge of bankruptcy*
  • 200-300 surfs*
  • 1 year’s supply of vodka*
  • Technical manuals on Mediterranean horticulture*
  • 10-12 Italian cookbooks*
  • Train tracks*
  • A short winter, early spring and long summer*

*ingredients 8-14 are optional

For the gnocchi:

  • 1 kilogram of red potatoes
  • 2-250 grams of 00 flour
  • 1 egg or 2 egg yolks
  • Salt
  • nutmeg

Serves 4.


Start in January. Study the horticulture texts to identify the best patch of land for planting basil and broccoletti in spring then draw up an educational plan for surfs, outlining planting procedures and gnocchi making techniques. Using the vodka as incentive, drill the serfs repeatedly on their instruction during winter. Hopefully, they will be ready by spring.

Work on your novel, carefully recording the details of your venture to insert into odd chapters between main plot points, preferably when a secondary protagonist retires to his dacha in broody seclusion. Tie your experiment into a plan to save Russia, using all those potatoes in the fields to make gnocchi that will end hunger in the countryside while providing a much needed economic boost to the bankrupt noble class with the exportation of gnocchi. Study Napoleon’s Russian Campaigns in your downtime.

In spring, restrict the supply of vodka to your serfs to speed the planting of the basil and the broccoletti. While waiting to harvest your crops, take the potatoes from the cellar, boil then skin them and cart the resulting boiled potatoes to the nearest train track. Throw them under passing trains to mash them, repeating the procedure several times if necessary to make a smooth potato paste for gnocchi. Entirely cut off the supply of vodka to your surfs while preparing the potatoes to prevent the drunken surfs from falling under the trains.

Once the gnocchi have been prepared, harvest the basil and garlic then move all ingredients and kitchen surfs to a house in St. Petersburg. Mix the ingredients and serve at a ball, making sure to invite rakish young officers, innocent girls and unhappily married aristocracy. Take notes on their romantic interaction and reactions to gnocchi. Add observations to your novel when done, noting the striking similarity between creating the dish and going through a war.


The recipe: Boil the potatoes with their skins on, then skin and mash them, mixing in only as much of the 00 flour in necessary, then one egg and a pinch of salt. Form a roll the size of quarter with the resulting paste and slice it into bite-sized dumplings, rolling them over a fork or cheese grater of wooden gnocchi -maker. Remove the sausage meat from its skin and sauté in a pan with a little olive oil, breaking up the meat with a fork, then add the minced garlic once the meat is borwned. Meanwhile boil the broccoletti, after cleaning, in salted water for 4-5 minutes. Boil the gnocchi in lightly salted water and remove and strain immediately once they begin to break up from the bottom and float. Mix in the gnocchi and broccholetti into the sausage, turn off the heat and shred in some basil. Salt, pepper and hot pepper to taste. Serve with a Primitivo.

link – Tolstoy the vegetarian: https://www.thedodo.com/leo-tolstoy-was-the-greatest-v-712462233.html

…if you have any other neat gnocchi recipes or food facts on Tolstoy, let us know in the comments… 

Weekend Food – Literary Recipe (pasta noir): Stephen Hawking’s Radiated Pasta Carbonara

Weekend Recipe: Stephen Hawking’s Radiated Carbonara

“In effect, we have redefined the task of science to be the discovery of laws that will enable us to predict events up to the limits set by the uncertainty principle.” A Brief History of Time. Rest in peace…

One dumb undergrad*
Pasta dough (or 320 grams or so of long pasta)
200 grams of bacon (or guanciale the more so, pig cheek)
4-6 egg yolks (farm fresh, from somewhere chickens still live like, well, chickens)
1-2 egg whites
Grated Parmesan and pecorino romano, or one softly flavored, aged sheep cheese
Salt and pepper
Mint or Mentuccia (optional)
a few drops of cool milk or cream (as necessary)
*preferably without a spouse or children

Serves 4.

Contain an incredibly large, dense mass in your kitchen. Hide it behind a door that says ‘loo’ or ‘bathroom’. Invite a dumb undergrad over, (any faculty will do though economics would be preferable,) telling him or her you want them to take part in a revolutionary experiment. When he gets to your house, have him sit down and then slowly explain to him about black holes. (Don’t worry if you make a mistake or two. He’s dumb, so he’ll never know the difference.) Pour him plenty of beer as you do. When he asks to use the loo, show him to the door behind which you’ve hidden the black hole – but remember to give him the pasta dough before he steps inside. (Tell him it’s soap or something. As mentioned above, it won’t matter.) As soon as he enters the strong gravitational field, have some fun noting him becoming increasingly terrified, in slow motion, as he nears the event horizon. You wont hear any sounds as by the time he starts to scream the sound waves won’t be able to escape the black hole.

While the dough and undergraduate are being turned into spaghetti by the massive gravity field, boil some water and gently fry the diced bacon or pig cheek in a large pan with just a few drops of olive oil. Remove the bacon once it’s crispy. Pasteurize the egg yolks after whipping them a little by double boiling, stirring and working the yolk constantly so as not to have them turn sold, in and out of the water for about 5-6 minutes. Once the spaghetti and undergrad have been expelled from the black hole, separate them, and boil the spaghetti. Then first toss the spaghetti with the rendered pork fat and a little bit of the cooking water from the pasta, then mix the spaghetti with the raw egg yolks (removed from the heat, maybe re-place over the flame for a few seconds to get to the right texture: creamy, not watery.) Then add some grated cheese, the crispy bacon bits then finally top with freshly ground black pepper. Take the spaghettied undergrad, instead, and slide him back into the black hole.

Miraculously he’ll come out again in reverse with another package of pasta in his hand. I’ll explain that some other time. Now it’s time to eat the Carbonara while still warm.

The real recipe: 
Ingredients – see above
….see the penultimate paragraph. On low heat, slowly ‘sweat’ small pieces of bacon or pig cheek, rendering their fat, until they’re crispy, then remove onto a paper towel. It’ll take time, 10-15 minutes or so. Put 80-90 grams or so of spaghetti into boiling salted water, to cook (you can flavor the water with some mint leaves, if liked.) In a mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks, then pasteurize them by working it fluid with a whisker at first, then a spoon, in a double boiler until they have the texture of a watery mayonnaise (until just before they just begin to solidify.) Remove when ready and just add a drop of cream or milk or transfer into a cool bowl to immediately cool. Mix a little egg white as well, if you like the added texture, separately. When the pasta is almost done, scoop some of its cooking water and mix with the rendered pig fat, in the latter’s pan. Drain the noodles partially and place them into the pan as well, saute over high heat, adding more cooking water if necessary. (It’s about here, a moment before putting in the noodles, you can add a bit of mentuccia, mint leaf, but only a little.) Remove from heat, add first the egg white (one) and mix again over the heat a few seconds, remove again from heat and add the yolks (3), mix, and toss a few more seconds over the heat if you like the condiment thicker but remove before the thing turns into an omelette. Plate, then generously sprinkle with some grated, decent pecorino romano or with a soft flavored, aged sheep cheese, then some freshly grated black pepper and the crispy bacon or pig cheek bits. Goes well with a structured white or table red. Serves 4.

link – some small talk stuff about Stephen Hawking: https://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/famous-scientists/physicists/10-cool-things-stephen-hawking.htm


…if you have any other variations on carbonara, let us know in the comments….