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An Impromptu Pasta Party for Fourteen

March 26, 2009
A dinner feast: carbonara, baked ziti, Dark n' Stormy, Irish coffee

A dinner feast: carbonara, Irish coffee, baked ziti, Dark n' Stormy

Ever since I first laid eyes on the Woodstock kitchen, I’ve been itching to throw an epic dinner party; this weekend, that’s exactly what we did.

After a slushy spring day on the slopes, tired skiers and snowboarders flopped about the house and declared that they could not possibly move one more inch for dinner (for the record, the snowboarders whined louder).

Judy and I, always game for cooking, decided the best way to feed 11 hungry skiers and 3 dinnertime drop-ins was pasta, lots and lots of pasta. We settled on carbonara and baked ziti, with salad, garlic bread and a brownie cream cheese pie.

Total damage: $100. Not bad if you split that by 14, and dirt cheap if you count the fact that we could easily have served double that number on leftovers alone.

Even better, as the smell of frying garlic and bacon crept through the house, people congregated in the kitchen and soon we had a small army of soux chefs and dishwashers. Herbs chopped themselves, pies materialized, and dishes disappeared. Frosty glasses filled themselves with fiery ginger beer and rum, and then refilled.

Piano and guitar music drifted in from the living room, where the occasional pasta-themed chorus was inserted to encourage our cooking. After two hours of controlled kitchen mayhem, all fourteen people crowded around the huge wood table and toasted to a delicious meal with friends.

browniepie3

John Goodwin’s Signature Carbonara
1 lb. spaghetti
1 lb. bacon, cubed
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
2 eggs
1 cup grated cheese (Romano or Parmesan)

Cook bacon, and pour off all but 3 T fat.  Add peppers, onions, and garlic; cook until translucent. Add al dente pasta, eggs, and cheese; stir to coat.

Brownie Cream Cheese Pie
1 pre-made refrigerated pie crust (from 15-ounce package)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, whipped
3 T. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 (15.1-ounce) package deluxe brownie mix with fudge packet (fudge packet reserved for finishing)
1/4 cup oil
1 T. water

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.   In medium bowl, combine vanilla, cream cheese and 1 of the eggs. Beat until smooth. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine brownie mix, oil, 1 tablespoon of the water and remaining 2 eggs. Beat 50 strokes with spoon.

Spread 1/2 cup brownie mixture in bottom of crust-lined pan. Spoon and carefully spread cream cheese mixture over brownie layer. Top with remaining brownie mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 to 50 minutes or until center is puffed and crust is golden brown.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. jownby permalink
    March 26, 2009 6:59 pm

    Sounds like great fun. I’m going to print your brownie cream cheese pie recipe.

  2. Liz permalink
    March 26, 2009 7:05 pm

    I hope you like it – it’s so simple that it’s great for baking-phobic types like me. We think it’s an old Pilsbury winner, but Judy’s had the recipe so long that we’ve lost track of the exact origins.

  3. March 26, 2009 8:20 pm

    beautiful! i must try this one… just lovely

  4. culinarychick permalink
    March 26, 2009 9:30 pm

    Hi Papi!

    I love your blog, especially your pictures. In your recipe for carbonara, you listed grated cheese as part of your recipe, but you didn’t list a unit of measurement. Can you list if you want us to use a cup, pound, or whatever unit we should use for the cheese?

    Danke,

    The CC

    ps- I’m adding you to my blogroll

  5. Liz permalink
    March 26, 2009 9:41 pm

    Hi culinarychick – Thanks for stopping by and pointing that out! It should call for 1 cup of cheese for every cup of pasta. I’ve updated the recipe above.

  6. Susan permalink
    March 26, 2009 10:41 pm

    Some kitchen details, please. And are you certain that the skateboarders actually ponied up the money for their share of the dinner?

  7. Susan permalink
    March 27, 2009 12:02 am

    Make that snowboarders instead of skateboarders. I’ve lived in Southern California so long that my brain filled in skate instead of snow.

  8. March 27, 2009 5:12 am

    gosh that looks fantastic!!!
    i’m trying these out this weekend and adding you to my blogroll
    xo

  9. Judy permalink
    March 27, 2009 1:54 pm

    Liz forgot to mention that her baked ziti was an experiment that formed in the aisles of a supermarket, untested, unscripted, and magnificent. Mmmmm

  10. Liz permalink
    March 27, 2009 1:56 pm

    Which is why this post is lacking the recipe… I’m going to have to re-create it with fewer dark n’stormies and actually write down the ingredients first!

  11. John permalink
    March 27, 2009 2:15 pm

    I take a minor issue with the snowboarder/skier division that this post is suggesting. I am an aggrieved snowboarder (albeit a crap one)–food crimes are winter-sport-of-preference-blind.

  12. March 28, 2009 2:32 pm

    oooh, I’m intrigued by the brownie pie! I just made chocolate chip cookie pie- I’m loving the idea of throwing other desserts into pie crusts- I’m going to try that one! Gorgeous pictures too!

    -Sara @ Our Best Bites

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