Sunday, January 22, 2006

Baked Pasta with Tomatoes, Shitake Mushrooms, and Prosciutto (Page 225)

  • Date: Sunday, January 22, 2006 - 8pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Chris' Apartment
  • Sous Chef: Chris
  • Recipe Rating: B

I picked this one because I wanted to make something Chris and I could bring in to the department for lunch for the next few days. It isn't bad. With large amounts of Fontina, Gorgonzola, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, it is pretty strongly flavored. It is the prosciutto though that really makes the dish worth eating. In the interest of full disclosure: I didn't make the recipe exactly as written. I have been trying, in this project, to be as true to the recipes as possible. But this fine dish called for one pound of shitake mushrooms, which sell at the local grocer for $16.99 a pound. Now, I am not cheap when it comes to food, but I don't particularly love mushrooms, and I certainly don't love them enough to pay that much! So, I made this with a mixture of shitake and crimini mushrooms, which was cheaper and likely did not affect the taste too significantly.

Every six months or so I have a day where all I really feel like doing is sleeping. Today was that day. I slept until 10:15am this morning, which is unheard of for me. Then, this afternoon I closed my eyes for a minute and woke up two hours later, crabby and disoriented. I am feeling slightly more alert now, but I think I would still fall asleep if I allowed myself to lay down.

So while I was staying with Emilee last week she solved one the great mysteries of my recent life. As many of you reading this know, I completely decaffeinated my life in July. The withdrawl period was brutal -- I had horrible headaches and I fell asleep on my desk every afternoon at 3pm for 3 weeks. After that though I had many happy, headache free months. Six weeks ago or so I became once again stricken with those withdrawl-type headaches. I could think of no explanation. One day last week, I was eating my Cliff Bar for breakfast, as I do almost every morning, when Emilee asked, "Why is it that all the best flavors of those are caffeinated?" Ok, I admit, I should have known -- the flavor I most recently added in to my Cliff Bar regime is called "Peanut Toffee Buzz." I'm not sure what I thought that "Buzz" meant, but it never occured to me that it meant "contains caffeine." It does though. That day I switched back to the non-buzzed flavors and have been headache-free for days now. Yay!

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