Sunday Sauce: Spaghetti con Pomadoro e Ricotta and The Week That Was.

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For the record, I just made that headline look Italian. I have no idea if that is a correct translation or not, but “Spaghetti con Pomadoro e Ricotta” looks like something that would be in one of my cookbooks. That means burgers and fries right? La Lingua Italiano appropriated.

I didn’t think about it at the time, but the hat that I grabbed so I wouldn’t be embarrassed by greasy bed head when I went to the grocery store was my Carroccio Ricotta hat. For the uninitiated my mother’s maiden name was Carroccio and her diminutive immigrant progenitors, by extension my own, made their living as cheese makers in the booming metropolis of Little York, NJ.

It’s been almost thirty years since I’ve been to Little York, but if memory serves, the local economy consists of a candy store and a gas station situated catty corner from one another with some municipal offices, a post office and whatnot, occupying the rest of the only intersection I saw. Its Wikipedia page, which is appropriately short, claims that a tavern exists. Maybe so. That was out of my nine to twelve year old sphere of interest.

The long and the short of it is that I went to a store to buy ricotta wearing a hat that advertised my family’s ricotta business. It’s a flimsy little coincidence to muse over, but it’s Sunday, and musing is what Sundays are for. That and worshiping God.

This week’s sauce is pretty simple. It was inspired by an appetizer I had at Highlands Bar & Grill back in September. They poached an onion in white wine and chicken stock and then rolled the outer peels into little pouches stuffed with ricotta and spinach and served with a tomato sauce with a healthy dose of ricotta folded into it. Despite some fine competition from other apps and some inspired main courses, it won the night.

We tried recreating the onion at home with some success so I figured the sauce would do just as well with pasta.

It was really good as described below, and I’d eat it over and over again, but in comparison, it was lacking something. Maybe white wine?

IMG_4053Get some fresh basil, four or five cloves of garlic, 28 oz. canned whole tomatoes, olive oil, a remote control apparently, ricotta cheese from your local food selling establishment – preferably Carroccio brand, but only if you want dysentery considering that the creamery hasn’t been producing anything for more than fifty years – and some red pepper flakes that failed to make the photo shoot.

Saute the garlic in a few glugs of oil until the kitchen smells like victory. Pour the tomatoes into a bowl with their juices and tear them up by hand. You can puree if you wish, but the torn strands grip pasta in a fulfilling way. Add the tomatoes to the pan along with a pinch of red pepper flakes – be a bit heavy handed as there will be heat killing dairy added near the end – six or seven leaves of chiffonaded (not a word) basil, a pinch or two of salt and simmer.

Set a pot of heavily salted water to boil. When you add the pasta to the boiling water, add two or three heaping tablespoons of ricotta to the sauce and stir until smooth.

When al dente (actually Italian and not made up by me), drain the pasta, saving none of the water as you have been told to do by countless flavor killing, starch preserving barbarians and toss with extra virgin olive oil. I want a better word than “serve” but this is already coming in late so “serve.”

Yup – This was simply staggering to me. Students at Yale (to be fair I should say a student at Yale but I suspect the vein runs deeper) are berating administrators for not telling them how to dress on Halloween.

I’m a consumer of college speech code outrage stories and the schadenfreude that comes with reading them. Point and laugh. But the regularity and conformity of the stories have reached a level that suggests that these are not merely funny little anecdotes on the fringe of academia but descriptors of a disturbingly effective movement, still on the fringe of academia, but with a set of teeth the size of which I wouldn’t have expected.

Watch the video and judge for yourself. I am an unabashed free speech advocate. But there are consequences. If you say something, repercussions follow. So while I’m all for the free flow of ideas, am I a hypocrite if I think that telling your administrator to “Fuck off” is grounds for expulsion or is decorum dead.

With this idea in mind I pestered my nine year old.

“What is the most important freedom?”

He looked at me askew, and asked me why I’m asking. I persisted. “What’s the most important thing?”

“I guess it’s the freedom to speak,” he finally said. “Because, technically,” he’s a pedantic creature, “if you have the right to speak you can say that you want other things.” I am raising him brilliantly. His mother should get some credit too.

What’s so scary about the campus speech code clique is that they will graduate and eventually run something. That idiot from the Yale video is not destined to pump gas. She’ll be an executive administrator of some such and her intolerance will be ensconced in a handbook. These coddled little shits are going to run the world soon.

They are utterly unprepared to face an opinion contrary to their own. Meeting someone like the Yale whiner, my kid is likely to tell her to go fuck herself. I doubt she will extend the same courtesy she was extended.

It’s not a fantasy to say that one of the great benefits of freedom of speech is that it acts as a release for extreme ideas. Even the worst of idealogues can vent.

You have a bad idea. That’s fine. We heard all about it and disagreed. Bad idea guy can go away content that he might have changed a single mind (he didn’t) or so.

Such is the marketplace of ideas.

Consider the opposite. Certain holders of certain ideas are told to shut the hell up and aren’t given the opportunity to make their case. The whole “Use your words,” argument that I press on my three year old is denied to them. All that’s left is violence.

In keeping with the “my kid” vs. “coddled shit kids” idea, my kid is several belts in under Saiko Shihan Oyama, former knock down champion of Japan whose dojo is decorated with a picture of him and his brother presenting Reagan with an honorary black belt, so while we are all for free speech, he’s ready for the whole punch-you-in-the-mouth-if-you-won’t-let-me-speak bit. Not a belt factory. Parenting.

– Ben Carson has been on the wrong end of a news cycle. In his autobiography he wrote that after an event where, as the top ROTC high schooler in the Detroit area he was told by General Westmoreland that he could get a free ride to West Point he decided not to pursue a military career.

Instead, per his autobiography, he applied to only one school: Yale (presumably when you couldn’t tell the admins to go “f” themselves, but it was still a cool place to be).

Politico delved deeply into Carson’s account and found that though he may have said that he didn’t apply to West Point, a deeper reading shows that he never even applied to West Point. That, my friends. is a scoop.

An initial reading of the non scandal, that a candidate may have claimed a credential in a biography that was not warranted, should have Republicans wondering and questioning were the non scandal actually true. The vapors and couch feinting on the Democratic side are hilarious.

They punted on this a long time ago. The current president’s composite girlfriend, among other fabrications, are just the way people write factual account of their lives they told us. The current Democratic front runner laughably claims to have tried to join the marines.

– Speaking of punting, I got to interview Lane Bearden last week about special teams and the minds of kickers for rollbamaroll.com. He wrote “In my experience when you see a kicker try to chip the short ones and they are not driving them through, there is a confidence issue.”

Was there any better cleansing of demons than Adam Griffith’s 55 yd. field goal?

He struck with confidence.

– I’ve been reading Koba the Dread by Martin Amis for some time now. It’s not that I’m a particularly slow reader, it’s that though the writing is brilliant (expected from Amis) the content is monumentally depressing.

Amis’ book is an indulgence in the best sense of the word. He is coming to terms with how a generation, but in particular his father and his father’s friends, came to terms with the horrors Stalin wrought.

He never intends for his work to be a history. In fact, he warns against it, steering all and any to Robert Conquest’s The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine.

It gets a bit confusing, but Amis quotes Conquest:

We may perhaps put this in perspective in the present case by saying that in the actions here recorded about twenty human lives were lost for, not every word, but every letter, in this book.

And then Amis himself on his work, it’s scope, and Conquest’s:

In these pages [of Conquest’s book], guileless prepositions like at and to each represent the murder of six or seven large families. There is only one book on this subject: Conquest’s. It is, I repeat, 411 pages long.

With all the distance of time and comfort I am still verging on tears reading this book.

– I went to the Alabama vs. LSU game last night. I sat more or less at seat 8 (there were four of us and we didn’t pay strict attention), section LL, row 14. If you sat behind me in row 15, you are an abysmal jackass.

I really don’t know what to say. For years I have gone to the Alabama vs. LSU game and almost exclusively sat in the ranks of the opposition. With very few occasions I’ve been given the fan-that-I-disagree-with-but-not-a-bastard-treatment. It was all in fun, and went no further.

My LSU cousins were not given the same courtesy.

Leonard Fournette is the best player in the country. If you want to know how good he is, he just got shut down for the first time this year by a stout Alabama defense. He barely earned thirty or so yards against the Tide. He still leads the nation in rushing yards.

Against McNeese State, he earned nothing. That first week’s match-up was called due to weather, costing Fournette a game of possible production versus his competitors. Most competitors have a game ahead of him. He still leads the nation in rushing yards.

I was in the stands and committed the unforgivable sin of not recording the game. My recollection is just that.

We triumphantly stopped Fournette.

I could check, but that’s not stadium fun. We held he of 200+ yards per game to 9 yards at the half, He had 30 by games end.

As mentioned, I failed and forgot to record the game so at best I’ll get the SEC truncated replay that skips anything I find interesting, but from the stands, we didn’t pack the box once. Seriously.

Not only did we never press our safeties, we played nickel a hell of a lot.

The only issues came from the jackasses behind us who kept up a regular chant of “Fournette sucks,” “Give the ball to the real Heisman winner,” and “We are the best defense.” All of this was aimed at surrounding fans in purple and gold.

If Leonard Fournette sucks, which is absurd, then our defense would have no problem containing him.

If you submit that our defense is amazing because we contained Leonard Fournette at the same time that you…

I tried explaining to the row 15 denizens, but they were caught in a Fournette sucks because our defense is awesome and as evidenced by out defenses’ ability to shut down shitty running backs like Fournette.

Admittedly I had had some bourbon, but how obvious do I need to be?

– We met and dispersed from my brother in-law’s frat house. Hospitality and thankfulness rule the roost here, but the (free) bourbon served was… We all tried a cigarette at one point or another. Remember that coughing spasm from the first drag? Every sip was like that. Thompson’s is not my brand.

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