One of the best things in this world is when you manage to convince people you are doing them a favor but in actuality this kindness comes from a place of self interest.
“Your legs look so pretty in heels” really means “Those freaking Uggs were searing my corneas and if I had to look at them for one more moment I might have vomitted”.
Or when I say “You should totally go on a date with him; he seems like a great guy!” what I am really getting at is “If I have to entertain your sorry, pathetic ass for another Friday night I may shoot myself.”
And “Let me make us all dinner before we go out” is my special way of saying “You need some food in your system because I sure as hell am not going to be the one to hold your hair back in about 4 hours.”
Really, it is all about me.
Last Friday, before the blogger happy hour, I had Maxie and Deutlich over and I told them I would treat them to some food while we threw back. Now , I did want to feed the girls–this is what a gracious host does and at my core I am a nurture caretaker–but I would being lying if I was trying to lay a good foundation for them. They seemed ready for a good time– a very good time– and I didn’t want any nonsense on my hands.
The happy hour that night was a blast even if Arjewtino picked the worst spot in the place and I spent the sum of the evening freezing in my teeny, tiny dress. (I know some of you might be thinking, “She should have dressed more appropriately” to which I counter “Clearly, we have not met”.) I want to thank all of you for coming out and I am sorry if I was not entirely on top of my game. My brain was frozen. It was a pleasure meeting all of you…really.
This is the dinner I made for the lovely ladies before me and my breasts braved the arctic chill of Marvin. Aren’t you just a little but jealous? Hell, I made it and I think I deserve a slap on the ass for this one. I pasted a recipe below from Emeril that is perfect to work from; it does reflect most of the changes I made. I am going to say it; I think this adapted recipe is better than Emeril’s. I, perhaps, kicked it up a notch? I added basil to the recipe (the original didn’t call for it), messed with the proportions and removed a lot of the liquid. I like a thicker, heartier sauce and I see no need for beef broth in this so I took it out. I didn’t really measure anything–from the carrots, to the wine, down to the garlic–but that is the perfect thing about this recipe…it is pretty fool proof. Before anyone asks…no, there is no way to “lighten this up”. I just don’t think it would be anywhere near as good with ground turkey or soy crumbles or without the bacon. Yes, I said it…I think the bacon makes a big difference here; it adds a depth of flavor and a smokiness that is essential. Just eat a salad the next day, hop on the treadmill, and do your best to embrace the temporary jiggle this will add to your wiggle. It is worth it. This was kick ass good and I can not encourage you more to try this for yourself; you, your guests and God him/herself will be so happy.
So, yes, we were full, happy and no one puked. It was a win for everyone.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces bacon or pancetta, diced (I just used four strips)
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic (a couple cloves)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1.5 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can crushed tomatoes and their juice
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream ( I used fat free half and half)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Pasta…I like fettucine…
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until browned and the fat is rendered, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, basil, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the beef and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, and until half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the cream and butter stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and return the water to a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking, until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Add the pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and toss to blend. Divide among pasta bowls and serve with the cheese passed tableside.