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Italian for Labor Day? Well, Why Not?

Penne

Okay, so it sounds odd. Labor Day, the unofficial end to summer here in the States, is often a mad paroxysm of travel, camping, beach and water fun, football games (college and high school this year; the NFL took a break) and cookouts. Here in Texas, it’s often just an excuse for another long weekend with grilling; we’ve got at least two more months of heat to go. (It often reaches the nineties in February here.)

Labor Day cookouts seldom feature Italian food. without going into all the reasons for why that may be, I’m sure a major contributor is all the effort one has to expend to keep those little macaroni from falling through the grill. And don’t even get me started on trying to keep spaghetti from going down to the coals! Take it from a pro, that’s not easy.

There has to be a way, though. The surprising answer is, cook the pasta in the kitchen! Or in a pot on the grill! Heck, that’s not just one answer from the wizards here at the Chile Underground, that’s two! You don’t get service like that just anywhere around here on the Web. Which is why you always come back, to learn those important life lessons as you get new and improved recipes and cooking tips. Anyways, back to the show…

Penne With Sauce

Since Labor Day managed to worm its way into Spicy Italian Month (without checking first with the Calendar Elves at the Chile Underground, I might add), I decided I wouldn’t have the usual hamburgers-on-the-grill cookout. Instead, I decided to test, and then bring directly and immediately to you, a zesty Italian recipe. I read a few pages in a couple of books slaved and toiled through mounds of primary, secondary and even tertiary research material to find the perfect end-of-summer Holiday dish. And I found it too! (How could you have guessed that? Well, if I’d fallen asleep in front of the TV missed somehow, then we wouldn’t be having this little chat, now, would we. Here’s your sign.)

This version has been fine-tuned by a chef who used to teach Italian cooking at the California Culinary Academy for Chefs in San Francisco. (I wonder: do they have a CCA for everyday cooks?) Chef Middione knows italian, and he’s not afraid to use teach it! So grab your gear and some fixings and try out this deceptively simple, intensely flavorful pasta dish for Labor Day, or any day for that matter. You can add cooked sausage (Italian, of course), or meatballs, or grilled chicken if you really MUST have something you’ve scorched yourself. Put a salad on the side and some wine in a glass and you’ve got a feast. (Get some quality wine this time, not your usual. And no Mason jars.)

Trust me, you eat this stuff for Labor Day and you’ll not miss that big ol’ barbeque cookout your uncle Norman’s holding, again…

Enjoy the (Furious Pasta) Heat!

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