Pasta a la Piattaforma

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We’re building a deck. Last week, we rented a concrete mixer and a “two-man auger” with a 12-inch wide drilly thing. I felt pretty sassy that morning. Two-man auger. Isn’t that a little outmoded? Here we were, two women. Was it was confidence-leaching to go along with that particular name? I comforted myself by seeing that two-man has a woman in it, t(wo-)man. I am sooooo dorky.

Well. I think it should be called a “two WWF (could be World Wrestling Federation, could also be What Whuh F$%&) auger, because that sucker was insane. It has a smelly, fumey motor on the top, and then there’s this big drill bit the size of a small silo that’s chewing away at the earth, throwing you across the yard (and viciously jamming its handle into every soft part of your leg) each time it hits a rock. I think the whole thing weighed over 70 pounds. And there was a lot of lifting up involved. While the blade spun!

Also. Our particular rented auger didn’t. Shut. Off. The doohickey that was supposed to shut it off…didn’t work. So it just ran for hours (as we worked) until Laura did something completely counter-intuitive to get it to chill. Don’t ask me what. I couldn’t tell you.

And God forbid you don’t pull it out regularly enough, because if you let it go too deeply into the earth, it will get stuck, like a screw into a piece of wood. We spent 40 minutes digging the drill out of the ground…on the second to last hole. And we weren’t sure we’d actually be successful. I was thinking about how much the Home Depot rental manager would titter after receiving my phone call. He knew (and he was right) that it was going to be a brutal chore–given that it also is difficult for burly people who do things like this all the time. I write on my computer all the time. I cook all the time. I do not man or woman an auger all the time. And that made it even more beastly.

So that was last weekend. This Wednesday I worked all day, and had another super-stressful thing in the schedule–something that should have warranted me kicking back and NOT trying to cook dinner. So, but, I did, in a bit of a “throwing things together” kind of way. I sauteed a sliced onion with chopped basil and sun-dried tomatoes. Everything got all delicous and gooey. I made a bunch of angel hair pasta. I dumped it in a colander in the sink, the colander tipped, and that big pile of pasta jumped out of the colander and slid down the drain like a hell-bent snake. I just stood there, going, “Uh….uh….I think I just ruined dinner.” Laura put her arm around me and said, “Oh, honey. Let’s order pizza.”

Luckily we have ridiculously good pizza nearby.

I put the sauce in the fridge (without any mishaps). Tonight, I decided to pull it out and take two. So, I added a bunch of broth, and spinach. I shredded a big green farmer’s market zucchini and threw that in, too. I let the broth cook down, and it became stewy and ratatouille-y.

Cue rascally angel hair. This time, I was careful. I put the drained angel hair in a bowl, and chopped it up a little so it would be easier to mix with the sauce. Then I plopped the sauce on top and stirred it all up. Added parmesan, Herbamare (seasoned salt) and ground pepper.

It was good. But I still felt like it needed something. I cut up a ripe heirloom tomato, and spread the luscious chunks on top of the surface of the pasta-sauce mix. Then I grabbed 3 small slices of salami, chiffonaded them, and sprinkled them on top too (meat as a condiment, indeed). THEN it was kick-booty. Laura and I sat outside on the patio, amidst construction flotsam and tool jetsam, and we enjoyed our dinner. The waning light was glowy and beautiful, the sunset dramatic over the slowly manifesting deck site.

We each made a series of happy mammal noises, which led me to concur that this experiment was worth repeating and should be preserved and named, even.

“So what are we going to call this pasta?” I asked.

“Deck Pasta,” Laura said, and I looked it up online to find out that deck, in Italian, is “piattaforma,” which is just perfect. I’m glad that’s perfect, because the kids thought the pasta dish was “ewey” and ended up eating sandwiches and yogurt for dinner (they made it themselves, with resourceful aplomb). My mom’s dad couldn’t say “This isn’t a restaurant, you know,” because he actually had a Greek diner where she ate most meals. But I can.


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on Saturday, September 4th, 2010 at 12:30 am and is filed under the flavor.
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