An Impromptu Pasta Party for Fourteen
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.
John Goodwin’s Signature Carbonara
1 lb. spaghetti
1 lb. bacon, cubed
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
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
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.