The hills are alive with the taste of pasta … |

The hills are alive with the taste of pasta …

Heidi Rice
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Fried Rice

“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 to see more columns or buy her book collection.

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