Last week I blogged about my cousin Glenn’s wedding to his lovely wife Victoria and all of the awesome times we had during that weekend. I wrote a little bit about my relationship with Glenn and how much fun we had during our childhood years. I mentioned a little something about spaghetti, and how I would save that tale for a separate post, as it deserved its own!
Here is that blog post. Oh, and do not try this at home.
Like I said in the wedding recap, my cousin Glenn and I had an adventurous childhood. Every weekend when we were kids we’d spend the night at our grandparents, Abuelo and Abuelamom’s, house. We’d spend hours upon hours riding our bikes around the neighborhood, catching lizards along the brick fence on the property, playing with Tinker Toys (and fishing for raccoons in the wooded area behind Abuelo’s shop with Tinker Toy fishing rods- I know, I know.), playing Super Mario, wrestling with our WWF stuffed wrestlers, and stealing raw spaghetti strands from my grandmother’s pantry.
I don’t know when it started, but for as long as I can remember, Glenn and I loved to eat raw spaghetti.
Not macaroni. Not ziti. No sheets of lasagna. Just plain Mueller raw spaghetti.
You see, my grandmother loved to make spaghetti. She’d make it at least once a week and always had new boxes of spaghetti ready and waiting in the tall pantry in her kitchen. Any time she’d say she was cooking it, Glenn and I would be ready to pounce on extra strands of raw spaghetti that might fall onto the counter unnoticed. Abuelamom wasn’t thrilled with our habit, and would warn us about “broken teeth”, stomachaches and cagaletta. Look up that last word, or ask a Cuban friend. No matter the dramatic warnings, there was nothing stopping us from munching on those little straws of raw semolina.
Those munchies would come at the strangest of times too. Like super late nights when we’d be up past our bedtime watching TV or playing Nintendo. The craving would hit and we would oh-so-quietly tip toe from the bedroom, past our sleeping grandparents (with their TV still on and oh-so-loud), into the kitchen, slip sliding with our socks across the terrazzo floor, over to the pantry where we’d carefully turn the doorknob, crack open a new box of raw spaghetti, fill our pockets with strands, then high tail it back to the bedroom where we’d sit on top of our trundle bed and devour the straws like sneaky mice on a rooftop. We would do this weekend after weekend until one day, apparently my grandmother had enough. We must have left too much of a trail one on of those tip toe adventures, or maybe we were just dumb enough to think that she would never notice the torn packs of her new spaghetti boxes. Regardless, one day, she lost it.
Glenn and I were outside playing in the driveway. Abuelo was tinkering around in his shop. Suddenly we heard an earth shattering “GodDammit” and we saw our grandmother swing open the turqouise carport door, so hard we thought the jalousie windows would crack into a million pieces. In her hands she held not one, not two, not three, but four slightly opened boxes of Muellers spaghetti. We stared as she walked over to us then watched in awe as Abuelamom threw all four boxes into the air, scattering hundreds of raw spaghetti strands onto the concrete driveway and yard as she screamed “stop eating my damn spaghetti, Goddammit!”
Glenn and I were speechless for a moment. My grandfather never missed a step in his shop and kept welding away on whatever he was making at the moment. As soon as Abuelamom walked back inside, Glenn and I burst out into uncontrollable laughter as we began picking up each one of those strands until the last straw was in the garbage.
I can’t remember if we ever ate my grandmother’s spaghetti after that day. But to THIS day, you’ll still find me cooking spaghetti and sneaking in a few strands to munch on while boiling the others. And if you ask Glenn, I’m almost certain he hasn’t lost the urge to do the same. 😉
Here’s a spaghetti recipe in honor of our Abuelamom. And while you make it, sneak a piece and let me know how ya like it. 😉
Lemon spaghetti with veggies
1 box brown rice spaghetti (or whatever spaghetti you like!)
2 cups of fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. salt (remember, you have a full lb. of pasta!)
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1/2 shallot, minced
Boil the pasta as directed, but try and cook to slightly al dente, just for good measure =) Drain, do NOT rinse, and add back into the original pot. Turn off heat. In a bowl, combine lemon juice, shallot, spices, salt. Whisk together to combine. Continue whisking and add EVOO until the oil has emulsified into the juice mixture. Set aside. Add spinach, tomatoes and olives to the hot pasta. The temperature of the pasta will wilt the spinach just enough to soften it, but leaving the bright green color and flavors intact. Pour the dressing over the pasta and stir until all pasta is coated. Let the pasta sit for 5 minutes, then serve warm. I like to add an extra squeeze of lemon to each individual serving, just for some extra pizazz. Enjoy!