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Saturday, February 6, 2010


This is my version of the popular religious acronym. Because, in almost all cases, one can ask themselves, "What would Jack Bauer do?"

Last night, on my way home from work, I stopped at the store to pick up SOMETHING to make for dinner. (Don't worry, recipe is below.) One of those, I'll just pull this all together with no recipes kind of night. J had asked for spaghetti and meatballs, and given the long week we'd had, I was more than willing to oblige. Unfortunately, there wasn't any good-looking ground meat at my favorite market that I always talk about here and so I just grabbed some stuff and ran with it.

When I got close to home, J called and said he wanted to do "date night"...what a sweetheart! I came inside and we chatted about the options, eventually succumbing to the knowledge that I had just purchased an enormous whole wheat baguette to eat with dinner that would NOT be good by the time we got around to eating it if we went out. (There were other factors, as well, I guess.) But there was more. There was the down right attractive knowledge that we had several fantastic things on our DVR from being away, that we should probably get to, before things doubled up on us. (I HATE when our DVR doubles up--it's a pet peeve. I get overwhelmed.) And so we decided on a "state night." State night is our version of a staycation, a stay at home date. :)

I set to work making dinner, with a 7:30ish deadline, and created an awfully good meal. It was so yummy that I ignored my inner health-nut and ate seconds. Ah, delish! We ate in front of the tv (why lie and say we didn't?) and turned on another huge fav, "Celebrity Rehab." Judge if you must, but it's amazing. Playing Camera 1, Camera 2 with Heidi Fleiss and Mackenzie Phillips, understanding why that one guy got kicked out of 'Alice in Chains' and questioning just why that fabulous Shelly chick doesn't own a brush. It's wonderful, and a great way to unwind after a long week.

Sidebar: J and I don't like watching dramas or anything that involves our brains while eating. We like to focus on the food, and have some delightful giggling in the background, the ability to pause and discuss what we would have done differently with the food, and so on.

Once the dishes were done and the kitchen was clean, I made us some tea, and we turned "him" on. In all his glory. Jack. Uncle Jack!!!  I've been watching 24 since the beginning, save a few seasons in the middle where I didn't care. But in the last 4 years, J and I have watched. We know it's gone down hill a bit, but yet, we're there, through every ridiculous gun fight, building jump, and helicopter rescue. Not to mention the ABSOLUTE DELIGHT at watching Chloe's crazy-face reactions to things.

But here's a question. Is it just me, or does it REALLY seem like they're grooming Freddie Prinze Jr. to be the NEW Jack Bauer?

24 Pasta (For lack of a better name at this moment)
3-4 C marinara sauce (jarred, or your own)
1 pkg spaghetti fettuccine (I used fresh, and it was some gourmet brand thing--super yum!)
1 TBSP olive oil
1-2 large sausages (I actually used a chianti sopressata), cut into large half-moons
1-2 large bunches of dark greens (I used mustard greens, my new favorite), cleaned, stemmed, and chopped into large chunks
1 container bocconcini (mozzarella balls, or you could just dice up a large chunk of fresh mozz)
 1/4 C parsley, chopped
Zest of one large lemon
Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (for serving, use whatever you've got/want)

Before you heat the sauce, heat a large pot (large enough to toss the pasta and sauce) on medium-high heat. Add olive oil.
Toss in the sausage chunks, and render out the fat--meaning, cook them until they are a bit crispy. 
With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage and place on a paper-towel-lined plate. Set aside.

If you're cooking the sauce from scratch, now you would want to add the onions, and move forward. Otherwise, just add the marinara to the remaining oil in the pan, and heat through. (If you are using jarred sauce, I would add a bit of red wine, some crushed red pepper, and some extra seasonings--but that's just me.) Simmer on low. 
Boil the pasta. If you're using fresh, it will take all of 4 minutes.
While pasta boils, add sausage and dark greens to sauce, and allow greens to wilt (about 4-5 minutes).
Drain pasta.
Turn off heat under sauce, and add drained pasta.
Season with salt (if necessary) and black pepper.
Begin tossing the pasta, using tongs. 
Add in the lemon zest and the mozzarella balls. Stir, toss, and do whatever you need to to make sure the pasta is WELL COATED. The cheese will start getting all melty and amazing.

Serve in large bowls (or whatever bowls you'd like--we like large bowls!) and add grated Pecorino  Romano to taste. Stick two thick slices of a whole wheat (again, or whatever) baguette on either side of the dish, and use that to MOP UP the remaining sauce.

We drank this with a bottle of wine I had open from Wine Friday, but truthfully, this begs for something either Italian or French, in my opinion. Try an earthy (but not expensive) Cotes du Rhone. This one is really good, and the bite from the mustard greens and the Pecorino will balance out nicely.

Enjoy, preferably in front of the tv. Now THAT is WWJBD! (Ok, probably not, but still...)


  1. Yay for pasta! Inspired by your blog but limited by this kosher at-home lifestyle I'm leading, I just whipped up a fantastic whole wheat pasta with shitake mushrooms and collard greens and an amped-up three cheese marinara from Trader Joe's. I would never have thought of using mustard greens or the like in a pasta, but it tastes amazing! Surely would be better with sausage, but I'm pretty happy with it. Sending you love from chilly Chi-town. Are you guys snowed in this weekend?

  2. Delicious with the greens, right? So good and slightly spicy. And of course, healthy. It sounds amazing--you should post a pic so the rest of the readers (hee hee) can see.
    We're not snowed in, I'm at the shop actually. We barely got any snow. Sad about that actually. How's the weather in chilly Chi-town?
    Love right back atcha! xo