I wasn't ready to jump back in the saddle when it came to the mandolin, especially not after what happened with that pie, but the show must go on. My right thumb has what I assume will be a permanent scar, a battle wound I'll wear with shame for the rest of my life. It does give me a solid excuse in skipping my pie-making duties, I just thrust my thumb and bottom lip out and insist I can't bear to go back to such a traumatizing place.
It hasn't worked so far.
I bought a mandolin a few years ago, just for this recipe, which is a silly reason to buy any piece of kitchen equipment, but I'm grateful to report that despite multiple injuries, it's found a permanent home in the cupboard, right next to the food processor. The first one I bought was just ridiculous, it was heavy, came with entirely too many parts (none of which fit properly or easily) and I was sweating after just trying to assemble it one afternoon in August. No appliance should make you break a sweat, my friends. Quite the opposite.
I retired it to the shelf in my parents basement after my first failed attempt at this recipe, but I've since bucked up, bought a cheaper, sharper, much more streamlined version and tried this recipe again. Friends, this might just be my go-to summer night dinner.
You start with a tangle of spaghetti noodles - nothing out of the ordinary here. But while your pasta is cooking, you make a quick sauce of sorts, a pinch of red pepper flakes sizzled in some hot olive oil alongside garlic and basil. You let it go for a few minutes until it's fragrant and makes sort of a spicy haze above the pot before tossing in a few handfuls of zucchini shaped like spaghetti noodles, to boot. We ate it warm with a fluffy cloud of Parmesan cheese (reapplied after each layer, of course), but it was equally delicious cold the next afternoon.
Oh, and before I forget - that little link over to the left, the one that says "b.e. photography"? It's a little adventure I'm starting, and I'd love for you to come with. You see, sometimes I like to take pictures of things besides food. People, mostly. And the more I use my camera, the more I find myself wandering away from the bowl or the pot or the plate and onto objects that are non-edible. I don't know where it will go or what it will become, but it will be a place for photographs and thoughts and art and trying new things. That's a good start.
Adapted from Michael Chiarello, Food Network.