Posted by: cmtalbert | March 2, 2009

Keeping the Code Fires Burning

In Austin, March means flowers, the beginning of the best season (the not-quite-so-hot-and-not-rainy-season, to be prescise) of the year and SXSW music.   I really miss SXSW; the way the town erupts into a giant party, the way that there is music in even MORE places than normal (it’s already everywhere in Austin–I’ve seen live bands in grocery stores!)…I wish I were heading home for it.

Alas.  But since I am stuck on a wind whipped coast with breakers crashing together in all kinds of crazy directions and rain coming down sideways, I thought I’d share one of my secrets to keeping warm.  Since much of the Mozilla world is hammering away on Firefox Beta 3 in cold climates, I figured this quick little dish would be welcome.  I found it in the The Islands in the Sun Cookbook: Culinary Treasures of the Italian Isles by Marlena Spieler, which is a great book for a bunch of reasons, not the least of them being this recipe.

Pasta Mista in Brodo alla Zenzaro

  • 3 cups(715 ml) chicken broth (I use Pacific Natural Organic Veggie broth)
  • 1 1/2 cups (350ml) diced tomatoes (canned work great)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) tomato juice
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp (1-5ml) finely chopped fresh ginger (you have to have fresh ginger, it’s the only hard part, I swear)
  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped, minced, or pressed–as fine as you can make it, essentially)
  • Some green onions
  • Black pepper
  • Sea Salt
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce (I use several)
  • 8 ounces (255g) of ravioli or tortellini (I use one package of the frozen stuff.  I find that sharper flavors work well like portabello mushroom and cheese.  This is actually kind of important, green or super strong flavors like spinach and Asiago or Gorgonzola really don’t work well with this dish).
  1. Combine broth, tomatoes (dump ’em in, juice and all), tomato juice, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper into a big pot.  Bring it to a boil.  I usually let it come to a slow boil over medium heat, but if you’re hungry you can make it go faster.  Cook a minute or two then remove from heat (or just simmer it). Stir in your Tabasco sauce.
  2. Cook up your pasta in another pot, drain that.
  3. Put the pasta in a bowl, put the broth over the pasta, and drizzle green onions (and olive oil if you want, I never use it but it’s in the original recipe) over that.

Makes one awesome, warm, spicy dish.  I’ve been known to drink the tomato broth by itself–it’s just that good, and it warms you from the inside out.  I love this dish because you only have to chop the ginger (and the garlic if you opt to do that, I have a garlic press so it hardly counts as chopping).  You can prepare this in about 10 minutes and it will be ready to eat in about 10 more.  I like to let it cook longer to get the flavors to meld, but that still gets the job done in under 30.

When you’ve got a deadline to meet and a cold wind whipping at your door, this is exactly what the doctor ordered.  Now, back to coding.  Bon Appetit!


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