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Ceci con la Tria? Didn’t I Date Her in High School?


There’s probably some deadly-sounding clinical name for that malady where you get food items confused with the names of old girlfriends. If not, there should be. I finally determined that my little black book was making me fat over optimum weight, so I had to give it to my best buddy toss it away. Besides, my wife always asked too many questions. She never believed it was a secret, coded list of recipes, in spite of the evidence.

One of those names, though, I’ll swear was Ceci. But when I try to conjure up a face all I get is a lovely image of pasta and garbanzos in a tasty, spicy-hot sauce. “You gotta help me, doc, I can’t seem to get her off of my plate!”

I prefer starting with dried chickpeas, although it’s a bit more work. I suspect it’s the way canned ones are treated, or maybe the dried ones are just better quality to begin with. (Or maybe I’m too cheap to buy the really good canned garbanzos; I don’t know.) Either way works, though.

Fresh fettuccine is a nice way to go here (although a bit pricey if you get it from the grocery). It’s just easier, since you’ll really want to fry a bit of it to add some interesting crunch to the dish. If you use dried pasta, though, consider using linguine. Cook it according to the directions, but pull some out about halfway through the cooking and drain it thoroughly before frying it. Once you have the technique down you’ll be able to get some out, drained and fried before the remaining pasta is ready.

The zesty oil found in the second recipe is a real requirement. Using simple chile oil might work for you, but the flavor’s just not the same; must be the oil choice. Make this stuff up and store it properly and you’ll never be without a nice condiment for dressing pasta. It’s good on meat, chicken or as part of the oil in a spicy vinaigrette. Don’t worry if you can’t get authentic peperoncini; Serranos, Thai bird’s-eyes or Fresnos will work just fine. Get good, red ripe ones, though or you’ll get a grassy aftertaste in the oil…

Enjoy the (Confusing but Tasty) Heat!


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