ziti with tuscan-style cauliflower

Overheard in the Kitchen... Part I

Will was doing something that was driving me crazy. It couldn't have driven me completely over the edge because I can't even remember what it was. Why don't they ever tell you that most of the stuff your kids do will drive you bonkers? Why don't they tell you that you will block most of it out so you will continue to love them? Who's they and why don't they show themselves?

Okay, that not the point.

All I remember is this exchange...

Me: "You are killing me Smalls."

Will: "It's okay, Squints."

My son just called me Squints and the name has stuck.

will and i at point reyes national seashore. 2009.

Overheard in the Kitchen: Part II

Nancy was doing the dishes and Katie and I were sitting in the breakfast nook off of the kitchen catching up on our day. Katie is telling me in class they talked about sex, reproduction, and birth control. Someone in class was talking about how they wouldn't want to be a 'mistake' and Katie pipes and says "Look at me, I am a fabulous mistake!" Which made me laugh because she is a fabulous mistake. Then the conversation turns to Nancy who was giggling at Katie. Katie then tells Nancy, "You were the 'oops' baby. But it's better than being the 'oh shit!' baby... like I was."

(You need to know that I had Katie right after I gradutated high school and that at one point before Nancy was born she was suppose to be twins and unexpected twins at that. Thank You Ob/Gyn for taking 10 years off my life with that little nugget of information!)

It reminded me of the old Bill Cosby routine...

It was because of my father that from the ages of seven to fifteen, I thought that my name was Jesus Christ and my brother, Russell, thought that his name was Dammit. "Dammit, will you stop all that noise?" And, "Jesus Christ, sit down!" One day, I'm out playing in the rain, and my father yelled, "Dammit will you get back in here!" I said, "Dad, I'm Jesus Christ!"

Except my kids are Oh Shit and Oops.

ziti with tuscan-style cauliflower: the babbo cookbook mario batali

Serves 4 (I always double the recipe)

kosher salt
1/4 extra- virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of fresh mint, leaves only
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 heads of cauliflower, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 pound ziti
pecorino romano cheese, for grating

Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil and add enough salt so the water tastes like the sea.

In a saute pan, heat olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add onion, mint, pepper flakes, and garlic, and saute over medium- high heat until the garlic is just golden, 1-2 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook until tender, about 7 minutes.

Cook ziti in the water according to the package directions , until tender yet al dente. Drain pasta and add to the pan with the cauliflower. Toss over high heat for 1 minute. Grate cheese over each serving.


Tasting Notes: I orginally posted this recipe in November of 2007 before I even had a camera. I thought it might be time to go back into the archives and do some updating. We have this meal a couple times a year. It's quick and everyone loves it. I have cooked this every which way till Sunday so I know this recipe is highly adpatable. I have used yellow onions instead of red, sometimes I forget the mint, and other times I can't find ziti so I use whatever pasta I have on hand. It's like Stockton has a shortage of ziti. I know what you are thinking if you are from Stockton that I need to go to Gian's. Sometimes Gian's doesn't have it either. Anyways the point is don't stress too much if you don't have all the right ingredients and my biggest tip is to make sure to get the cauliflower caramelized and a little crusty (in a good way).


SaintTigerlily said...

I love this cookbook and I love you.

That is all.

Cali ʚϊɞ said...

this is a great story! thank you for sharing :)

GiGi said...

Funny story, and I could have said my name was Damn It as a child - I truly did hear it a lot. :)
I love Mario's recipes!! I will try this for when my in-laws visit next.

Unknown said...

Have you been to Genova Bakery? It's in a kind of sketchy part of Stockton, but they have great bread and tons of pasta! :)

Amy said...

LOL. Love it. Love it all.

natural selection said...

Delicious! can you overnight this to me??


great pics!

stacey said...

this one cracked me up.... because i have one of each! lol

Allie said...

love your story telling - will have to try out a recipe soon too as well. after reading too many pregnancy/birthing hippy books about the beauty of birth stories and telling your children about them, its hilarious and refreshing to hear your children embrace their true stories of Oops and Oh shit! That's lovely real life.