January 13th, 2011 | daybook
Paused from the comics writing to make dinner. Limited supplies meant invention. This is an adaptation of an old Jamie Oliver receipt. Ten years ago, Jamie Oliver and I were both in the ROLLING STONE Hot List. Today he’s a multi-millionaire with a media empire and I’m… not.
This is for two people. Weigh yourself out 140 grams of dried fusilli pasta. Or, in my case, notice that you only have 140 grams of dried pasta in the house.
Get yourself a dish, and put a pinch of crushed dried chillies in there. They can be surprisingly strong. It’s okay to use a tiny pinch, taste the food later and add more to the pan. But, seriously, they can obliterate the other flavours if you’re not careful. A pinch of smoked paprika. Snipping in some fresh chives with some scissors would be good. I only had dried to hand, and used a big pinch. Smash it all up a bit with the back of a teaspoon.
Whack a big frying pan or a wok on the heat, and splash a little olive oil in there.
Keith Floyd‘s mantra comes to mind at this point. No, not “drink everything.” This: “buy the best ingredients you can afford and do as little as possible to them.”
Find a bottle of red wine. I had a bottle of Isla Negra cabernet sauvignon/merlot blend knocking around, a Xmas gift. It was drinkable, if young enough that I kind of wanted to put a dart in its neck. NEVER COOK WITH ANY BOOZE YOU WOULDN’T HAPPILY DRINK. Pour yourself a glass to test it.
Take four good sausages. Yeah, that usually leaves two in the packet. That’s your lunch tomorrow. Once your oil’s hot, slit the ends of the sausages and squeeze the meat out into the pan. Yes, that’s right. MEAT ZITS. Squit. Splat. Ssssss.
Take a wooden spoon to your sizzling animal pus, breaking it up in the pan. Give it a couple of minutes, until the meat’s starting to change colour and some of the fat is starting to run out of it. Smash it more with your spoon. I mean, look at it. It’s meat worms frying in a pan. It needs to die. Then chuck the chillies and the other stuff in the dish all over it. It’s going to look more like mince now. Cook for ten minutes over a medium heat.
Get your water in the pot you cook pasta in and get it heating up. Have another glass of wine. It must be tested thoroughly. We are, after all, professionals.
Ten minutes have passed. Your pasta water is boiling.
Throw a large glass of red wine over the meat. Throw a good pinch of dried thyme after it. Stir it all up.
Dump your pasta into the boiling water, remembering to stir it regularly to stop it sticking and otherwise fucking about. It’s okay to do the squeaky little “no! please! not the boiling water! aaa” voice when you throw the pasta in so long as there’s no-one around to hear. It’s also okay to turn the heat down a bit if it starts foaming over.
Turn the heat under the meat down low, so it’s just kind of bubbling away quietly to itself. Your pasta’s going to take ten minutes to cook al dente, and so you’re going to let the wine cook down to about half its volume over those ten minutes. Have another glass. It would be rude not to.
Ten minutes have passed. Get your pasta off the heat and drained. Curl out a little knob of butter with the teaspoon and fling it into the meat, stirring it in thoroughly with your wooden spoon. Serve the pasta, then spoon the meat and juice out over it. If you’re my daughter, grate some strong Cheddar cheese over it. If you’re a human, then just fucking eat it. The end.