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I've been itching to try this spicy pasta for a while, and I finally decided to take a stab at it. Now, as much as I'd like to claim this idea as my own, it's not. This is a variation of Chef John's "Hot Wheels Pasta" over at Food Wishes. If you like cooking and/or reading food blogs, you can't do much better than Chef John's recipes, all of which are creative and inexplicable in their gratuitous use of cayenne. Except for this one, which is so hot that a shake of cayenne just might send it over the edge.

So here's Chef John's concept: a hot pasta dish comprised almost entirely of wheel-shaped ingredients. He uses rotelle, or "wagon wheel" pasta, sliced green onion rings, sliced zucchini, and rings from a variety of sweet and spicy peppers, all cooked in a mixture of tomato sauce and stock. Always eager to try new pasta recipes--and always financially constrained to the point of eating nothing but pasta at least four nights a week--I couldn't wait to give it a try. Follow me below the decidedly not wheel-shaped fleur-de-Kos...

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Please come in. You're invited to make yourself at home! Join us beneath the doodle...

Okay, so to start, I needed some tomato sauce. I could have bought my favorite leading sauce brand, but I had San Marzano tomatoes and some time, so I decided to make a batch of homemade sauce. You know, I was once told on here that I made a "terrible" sauce because I guess the way my family always made it doesn't compete with everybody's Italian grandmother's. I'm going to stand by my family's trashy sauce, but just to show that I can make something more traditional, here you go. It's just some hand-crushed San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and fresh basil. I'm reserving 2 cups for the pasta and enjoying the rest later.

As for the pasta, I couldn't for the life of me find rotelle anywhere. So I ended up convincing myself that this mezzi rigatoni looked something like wheels if I stared at it hard enough. What the hell, it works.
The rest of the wheel-shaped ingredients include 2 zucchinis (sliced) and the variety of peppers I decided to use (cut into rings and deseeded): 1 banana pepper, 3 Fresno peppers, 3 jalapeño peppers, and 1 cherry pepper. This makes quite a hot pasta, as you can imagine, so adjust the sweet-to-hot ratio accordingly based on your own tastes.
Other ingredients I used include a chopped shallot (I get why the green onions are used in the original recipe, but a good ol' shallot sounded better to me), 3 minced cloves of garlic, and 3/4 cup chicken stock.

All of this comes together very quickly. Boil the pasta a minute less than the directions say in generously salted water. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the shallot. Chef John uses an anchovy filet when sweating his onions, but I'm skipping that and just adding a little salt. Then, add the garlic and cook another minute.

Add the zucchini and wait until it just starts to turn tender.
Then, add the pepper rings, sauce, and stock. Simmer that until everything is nice and tender.
Add the pasta and cook just another minute or two. And it's done!
Italian parsley is recommended, but I didn't have any handy. I did, however, have some parmigiano-reggiano cheese, of which a healthy dusting is also recommended mandatory.
Clear my sinuses this pasta did. I liked it a lot, but I might opt for more sweet peppers and slightly fewer hot peppers next time.

June 15, 2014

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From aoeu:

I would like to nominate this comment by Armando from Jon Perr's diary 10 lessons from Bush's fiasco in Iraq.
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KJG52 sums up 24-hour, zillion-channel punditry in two concise, terribly depressing sentences.
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June 14, 2014

(excluding Tip Jars and first comments)

Got mik!

  1) You think it takes extraordinary skill to know by JesseCW — 146
  2) Hear, hear, says this almost-old by jan4insight — 136
  3) she did something horrible by rexymeteorite — 133
  4) There were a million people protesting by Pluto — 114
  5) And there were also 23 Senators, by Portlaw — 106
  6) Hillary knew exactly what she was doing. by Rithmck — 102
  7) Just like those who agree to vote for her.   by dkmich — 91
  8) WTF???? "Almost Unanimous"? by blue in NC — 90
  9) Bad votes are one thing by Deathtongue — 82
10) With apologies to actual weasels! Great one eric! by mrsgoo — 82
11) it was votes like HRC's by rexymeteorite — 78
12) Congratulations! And many well wishes! n/t by YucatanMan — 76
13) Bob Graham BEGGED colleagues to read NIE before by RFK Lives — 73
14) KFC response... by MartyM — 72
15) Yuck! by James Wells — 67
16) honestly i don't think i'd even vote for her by anime1973 — 65
17) I'm supposed to believe that the "smartest" by mjd in florida — 65
18) What is the Senate Intelligence Oversight by HoundDog — 63
19) Thanks. by shigeru — 62
20) I wish I could help. by rb137 — 61
21) When you are a member of the opposition party, by My Philosophy — 60
22) Lets not put on rose-colored glasses by mjd in florida — 59
23) The rich must truly believe by LeftHandedMan — 59
24) Oh Hai T-Dub! Happee Caturdai & Thx Much... by leonard145b — 58
25) Not was NOT nearly unanimous by gulfgal98 — 57
26) I stole the "smug little weasel" moniker by ericlewis0 — 57
27) It was an obscene war, wasn't it? by Pluto — 57
28) There most certainly were millions by AoT — 56
29) Any bar owner who has any sense by commonmass — 55
30) You can get on my lawn anytime. by Crashing Vor — 55

June 14, 2014

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