Tonight we're going to be making one of my signature dishes, Cheesy Deliciousness. As I'm sure many of you are aware, the name of this dish derives from the massive amount of cheese that goes into it, as well as the fact that it is delicious.
I like bring all my ingredients out onto the counter before I began preparing any dish. That way, I won't hurriedly look into the refrigerator while I'm cooking, bang my head in there, have the refrigerator door close on my neck, and die with my head lying on a shelf between a carton of orange juice and a leftover party platter from Trader Joe's. Because nothing, people, dampens the mood of a festive dinner party or afternoon brunch like a dead person in the kitchen with his head in the fridge.
All right! So here we have our sauce, our bag of frozen spinach, and our noodles. Now, I know that using the "bow-tie" noodle for this dish is controversial. Of course, it is my dish, so I could use horse teeth in it if I wanted to. But I don't. I want to use bow-tie noodles. You are free to use whatever pasta you like. But I prefer noodles in the shape of clothing favored by smug geeks who think their winsome choice of neck-wear gives them depth. If they ever make a noodle in the shape of an ascot, I'll be making Arrogant Weenie Casserole that very afternoon.
Now, I find that the key to this dish lies in the proper choice of sauce. I find the Ragu brand generally satisfactory. But lately the Ragu company has developed so many kinds of sauces that I end up too confused to buy any of them at all. Do I want Basil Mushroom Garlic Meat? Oregano Fennel Barley Parsley? Mint Thyme Bell Pepper Celery Lemon Zest? Chunky Wheat? Tuscany Dreams? Romano Delight? Tunisian Dalliance? Germanic Insistence? I have no idea. That is why, ultimately, I find that the most satisfying sauce for me to use in just about any of my dishes is the sauce that happens to be on sale when I'm shopping.
Of course, these days you need a degree in applied logarithms to figure out what grocery items on sale actually cost. Now tags for store sale items say things like "6 for $9.43," or "14 for $62.18." Apparently grocery stores have discovered a correlation between making money, and making people feel stupid because they can't do long division in their heads. Perhaps they've all gone into the pocket calculator business. I have no idea. But it's made me bitter and dyspeptic.
Anyway, back to cooking! But first, a word from one of our very favorite sponsors, Two-Buck Chuck.