Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm kinda trashy [RECIPE]

So, I'm a little bit of a food snob.

Not because I'm a really good cook or because I know jack shit about gourmet dining or even because I've, like, been to a million Michelin star restaurants or anything.

I'm just a snob because I'm an ass and harbor all kinds of snobby little food issues in my pea brain that I tend to trot out whenever I damn well feel like it.

Let me give you a little taste of my food snobbishness: I don't believe that anything sold in a Wal-Mart is actually organic.

I just refuse to believe it because I associate organic food with certain business and food practices and I don't believe that Wal-Mart falls in line with any of those things. I have these prejudices and I don't even shop at Wal-Mart. I don't even think we have one nearby. Still though, I think that organic food at Wal-Mart is a lie and I won't have it. Don't ever put food in front of me, proclaim its incredible organic-ness and then tell me it's from Wal-Mart because I will just throw it at you and call you A FOOL.

So, there's that. Also, I scoff loudly at anyone who claims to produce BBQ from a backyard grill. Though this is less of a personal food snob grudge that I hold and more of a global ignorance regarding the fact that grilling is a completely different act than making BBQ and the world of backyard grill manufacturers fucked this straight up when they started selling GRILLS as BBQs.

Just don't tell me you're making BBQ and then let me find you dousing your Weber with lighter fluid while bringing out the hot dogs. I'll kill you.

No really. In the face.

All that said, though, let me share with you the trashy, breaks all the rules of snobbish authentic dining, I should be ashamed of myself if it weren't actually pretty good thing I made the other night after a brief but inventive discussion with Bubba about what he did and did not require from his evening meal.

Me: Bubbs, what dinner wishes do you have tonight? (Yeah. I actually ask that. But in a funny voice so that he doesn't think I'm actually subservient or from the 50s.)

Bubba: You know what I want.

Me: Me?

Bubba: Yes. Also meatballs.

Me: Ah, of course. Meatballs. Fine. I can make meatballs.

Bubba: (makes *mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm* face)

Me: You want pasta with those balls? I could make the Best Sauce Ever. Yep. (Yep. We call it this at home, too.) to go with the meatballs and some pasta.

Bubba: (Eyes roll back in head. *mmmmmmmmmmmmm* face is paired with orgasm noise.)

Me: Hey! We have some mozzarella left from pizza...What if I made some sort of bastardized baked ziti with meatballs, where penne stood in for ziti?

Bubba: I think I just came.

Me: Nice. So, I'll make that, then.

Bubba: *Big smile* and then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (just kidding)

And with that, I took a nap in the truck (we were driving home from the mountains) and then later set about in the kitchen making a shame of myself in the cooking way.

Finny's Bastard Ziti with Meatballs
Recipe by moi

Serves 4
1 pound or so of ziti or penne or another smallish, tube-ish pasta that you like. Ours was even whole wheat, to add to the bastard factor a bit more.
1/2 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
1-2 T dried oregano

For the meatballs:
1 pound of ground beef
2 T minced fresh parsley
1 T garlic salt
1 T fresh ground pepper

For the sauce:
1 recipe of the Best Sauce Ever. Yep.
(4-5 large ripe fresh garden tomatoes, sliced into 1" rounds
4 good size fresh basil leaves
1 head of garlic, top chopped off
1/3 cup mellow red wine (we used a yum Cabernet)
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
yum extra virgin olive oil (if you don't want to spoon it into your mouth, find another bottle)

To make
Start the sauce to roasting by following the recipe here

Step 1: ROASTY
Mix the meatball ingredients in a medium sized bowl with your hands (don't be a pansy) and form into smallish balls - about the size of a ping pong ball. 

Be advised that my meatballs are not of the fluffy variety much heralded these days as The Way A Meatball Should Be. Bubba prefers his balls more firm and meaty rather than fluffy and marshmallow like and, hey, I can't blame him. He also demands MY meatballs, which makes me love him extra.

Start your large fry pan to heating on medium-high and drop all these balls on there in a single layer. Roll them around a bit so they settle and start to brown. When they've browned a bit on one side, roll them around so they'll brown some more. You get the idea - you want them to cook. 

In case you are retarded, let me show you what cooking meatballs look like.

Yeah, see - you're smart.

Now, start the pasta like a normal person would - fill up a pot half way with water, make it seasalty with a good shot of salt, bring to a boil and throw in your pasta of choice. JUST DO NOT COOK THE CRAP OUT OF IT. 

Goddamn it. I can not handle mushy overcooked pasta. It makes me fucking mental. So, please, for me - your devoted Finny - just cook it for a few minutes until biting into it returns a thin white line on the bit edge of pasta (this is what "al dente" means folks - "to the tooth", like how the pasta feels "to the tooth". Mushy pasta doesn't have a bite. It only has BLECH.)

Then, drain your pasta, toss with a small amount of olive oil to keep it from clumping up in a horrific mat of pasta-ness, and pour it into the bottom of a 9x9 glass dish or baking pan.

Please enjoy the one non-whole wheat penne pasta right there. I mix them all in one big bulk jar. So sue me.

Atop this pasta perfection, add your browned meatballs in a single layer.

Still hot from the pan. OR they're on fire. Your guess.

Atop that, add your Best Sauce Ever. Yep. being sure to cover the layers below so that there isn't a horrible scene of charred rubbery pasta clinging to the sides when you take it out of the oven.

This uses an entire recipe of the Best Sauce Ever. Yep. Just in case you were entertaining ideas of using the leftovers elsewhere. Nope.

Cover it with a thin layer of mozzarella (resist the urge to hide all color beneath with a heap of cheese because it will turn into shoe leather and that's disgusting) and a bit of oregano so that the final product will look herby and delicious. Also, because oregano is herby and delicious and will lend itself to your trash-tastic dinner and make you feel more classy. 

Feel better about myself as a person, now.


Then bake this Bastard at 375 for about 30 minutes, moving it beneath the broiler for a few minutes at the end to get the cheese to bubble and brown a bit.

You don't have to be ashamed. It DOES look damn good.

Retrieve from beneath the scorching hot broiler and let it cool for a second before you melt off your face on Bite #1.

You're going for DELICIOUS, not DEATH-DEFYING.

Feel free to make the following comments while eating:
  • If I served this to my Italian friends, they would knife me in the fucking throat
  • I'm ashamed of myself for liking this so much
  • I wish we had garlic bread. Like, the kind you get that has Parmesan cheese all spackled to the top. 
  • My drink's empty. Bubba, can you make me another G&T?
  • I want to marry this. Baby, can a man marry a dinner? If so, I may want to marry this dinner.
  • ARE YOU LOOKING AT MY MEATBALLS? Heheheheh...heh...why aren't you laughing?
Or whatever. Those are just things that came up at our dinner table.



  1. This reminds me of my own food snobbery. To wit: When I was first dating The Man Who Would Become My Husband--a man who, at the time, could cook nothing except scrambled eggs and oatmeal--he told me he cooked something for the office potluck (we worked together, I should mention). When I saw that he had made pasta mixed with store-bought sauce and pre-shredded mozzarella, I MAY have said, "That's not cooking."

    Nice. Yeah. Why did he marry me again? And is this why I do all the cooking?

  2. Someday, I will work it out. I will find the ideal recipe, and I will fnally get meatballs right.

    Then, finally, I will never have a reason to leave the house again.

  3. It took me several minutes to find the white noodle.
    Your sauce is, yes, totally the Best.

  4. I have added this to my recipe file AND will make this sauce! Thank you!

  5. I would like you to do a step by step tutorial on meatballs because I can't make them. Mine are a fucking mess and it's gotten to the point where Matt tells me to stop trying. Meatballs and meatloaf laugh at me and call me a failure.

  6. Two points:
    1. I knew I was a food snob when a man wanted to meet on a date at a Chile's and while I was previously interested, I knew immediately it would never work.

    2. Yes, please. I'd like a big bowl.

  7. My friend at work is a total food snob. She's rubbing off on me a little bit. Were your parents food snobs? My mom doesn't understand why I say she fed us crap as kids lol.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.