The hills are alive with the taste of pasta …
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
“What’s for dinner?” Husband-Head asked enthusiastcially as he burst through the front door after work. “I’m starving!”
I raised an eyebrow from the kitchen because I had packed him a full lunch just that morning.
“Did you trade your sandwich with someone else at the lunch table like you did in kindergarten?” I wanted to know. “Please don’t tell me you swapped your heart medications for a Ho-Ho …”
Husband-Head looked insulted.
“No, I would never make anyone else ever take that nasty fish oil pill,” he defended. “It makes you burp.”
I turned back around and continued stirring the pot I had on the stove.
“What’s that?” Husband-Head asked curiously, peering over my shoulder. “Whatever it is, its smells wonderful!”
“It’s eye of newt, tail of cat and hair of dog,” I laughed with an evil cackle.
“Stop IT!” Husband-Head protested. “It’s not even NEAR Halloween yet. … But, hey … where ARE the dogs and the cat, anyway?” Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh …
“You’re scaring me,” Husband-Head insisted. “Seriously … what are you making?”
“Braciole,” I said simply.
“What the hell is that?” Husband-Head demanded to know. “It sounds like an ailment my great Aunt Abbie had before she died.”
I could hardly believe that Aunt Abbie would have died from a plate of braciole.
“It’s an Italian recipe,” I sighed. “As far as I know, there are no known cases of people keeling over from braciole.”
Truthfully, I’d never heard of it before, either, but I saw it made on one of the Food Network channels. And being a cooking junkie and an Italian food aficionado, I had to try it.
“What’s in it?” Husband-Head asked suspiciously. “Don’t try to slip me those shrimp guys into my food, because I’ll know it and I’ll spit ’em out.”
“No, basically I beat my meat for quite some time,” I started to explain.
Husband-Head’s eyes got really big.
“No, no, no, no, no,” I assured him, knowing what his deviant little male mind was thinking. “Let me re-phrase that. I pound the flank steak with a mallet until it’s very, very thin.”
Husband-Head looked almost disappointed.
I continued to explain that a bread and cheese stuffing was then spread over the meat and it was rolled up like a jelly roll and tied together with kitchen string. After being browned in a skillet, it was then put into a pot of marinara sauce to simmer for several hours. “NOW I remember where I’ve seen that!” Husband-Head exclaimed. “It was on one of the episodes of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ where Debra finally makes something good when she serves braciole, and it starts a huge family fight!”
Yeah, well the atmosphere we’re going for here is simply a nice Italian dinner – not a Mafia thing where anybody has to wear cement shoes and go sleep with the fishes. …
When the dish was finally done, I served it with some spaghetti and a Caesar salad.
“I’m digging this Italian thing you’re on,” Husband-Head approved. “This is great! Can we have it every night?”
Yes dear, in fact we’ll have it for breakfast and lunch as well.
But the more I thought about it, the more I got excited about the idea of Italian cuisine.
“There’s a whole world of Italian food out there to explore!” I said excitedly. “Hello pasta, pizza, peppers, polenta and parmesan…tomatoes, basil, garlic and mozzarella! The possibilities are endless!” I started to dance around the living room like Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music” when she was singing her “confidence” song.
“I’ve got confidence in sunshine … I’ve got confidence in rain!” I said jumping from the floor to the couch and then the easy chair. “I’ve got confidence I’ll make Italian food again! … Besides what you see, I’ve got confidence in me!”
Husband-Head looked just a tad fearful.
“Ummm, Italian food maybe once or twice a week would probably be just fine,” he suggested.
“No, the braciole has totally gotten me into a new food focus on Mediterranean and Italian cooking,” I admitted. “Viva Italia!”
With that, I grabbed a bottle of Chianti and swigged down a glass.
“This could be a bad, bad thing,” I heard Husband-Head mutter softly to himself.
Yeah well, it could be worse. It could be Mexican cooking with a bottle of tequila. …
Heidi Rice is a columnist for the Citizen Telegram and the Post Independent. Her column appears every Thursday in the CT and Friday in the PI. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com to see more columns or buy her book collection.
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