While Brandon is off to Los Angeles to have game companies shower his stomach with gold plated shrimp cocktails, oysters on the half shell stuffed with $20 bills, and roasted peacock sauteed with diamonds in attempt to buy his review scores, I thought I would commandeer this week’s Don’t Shoot the Food with a report on tonight’s dinner. That’s something we can ALL appreciate, not just the feted “games journalists” out there at the Teddy Bears’ Picnic. We may not all be able to sit through hours of corporate hoo-hah bullshit delivered by guys with headset mics, but we can all eat some damn dinner.
Tonight at Chez Barnes, a classic. Sort of. And it ties into Dragon’s Dogma. It’s Griffin Parmigiana!
Now, I am part Italian and this DStF is going to contain something controversial that may irk our Italian readership who quite rightly believe that using sauce from a jar should be punished by burning at the stake followed by hanging and then a around in the dunking chair. I agree with that severity if we’re talking about most of the mass-market junk sauces out there. Pregoo, Ratgut, Rufus McLanahan’s Tomater Sauce for S’getti, miscellaneous store brands, and so forth actually are forged by Lucifer himself and will probably kill you if you eat them and you have Italian genes.
The right and proper thing to do is to make sauce. I know this. Sautee a little garlic, crush up some San Marzanos (or Heirlooms if you’re a well-heeled $100k a year game developer), toss in some fresh basil. It’s not hard. But I’m lazy and have two small children, so we go the jar route. There are actually some pretty decent jar sauces available these days, but you’ve got to be willing to pay for them. Rao’s, Bobby D’s, Antica Rusta (a local Atlanta brand)…even Batali’s sauces are good. But spending $8-$10 for a good sauce pays out in spades versus eating that pasty, sugar sweetened garbage that exists under the top shelf.
With a good sauce in hand (I’m using Batali’s marinara tonight, it was on sale), I’ve also got some nice organic whole wheat penne. I’ve been buying the Whole Foods brand because it’s milled a little finer and less gritty than some of the other whole wheat pastas, and some of the overwhelming nutty taste is toned down. But you still get that whole grain thing.
Now, for the Griffin meat. We’re a meatless household so we wouldn’t eat a Griffin anyway. So I’m just going to use Boca fake chicken patties in lieu of the fanciful beast’s probably gamey flesh. I’ll top those with a little of that Batali and a slice of fresh sliced smoked provolone. Good stuff. Then that’ll go on top of the penne with a side of sauteed broccoli rabe. Some fresh Reggiano will get thrown on that, and my son (he’s two) will demand the remainder of the cheese, half of which he will eat and the other half will wind up on the ground, probably about $2 worth.
The really sneaky thing is that I’m not telling my family that we’re dining on mythological creatures tonight. B3 day one will conclude with me having a Crispin Brut and playing Dragon’s Dogma. See you tomorrow from the show floor of my basement!