We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
- My Paris-trained chef friend says that canned or jarred Cassoulet au confit de canard is better than you will ever have time to make. Says it is dee-licious. Recommends the brand with the rooster. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, heat up in oven until it begins to bubble, then some chopped parsley and it's ready.
- Does adding pasta water really matter? With some other excellent tips about pasta.
- Pasta with tuna roe. I had this in Sicily. Very pleasant. Nice with some squirts of lemon on it. I'd guess the best place to get that dried tuna roe is online, like so many good things.
- Sicilian classic primi: Pasta con Sarde. Sarde, sardines, are pretty much the same critter that we often call anchovies in the US, but not the canned brown overly-intense salted variety that most people (not me) hate on pizza. The dish is best with fresh sardine/anchovies, which you can find in some stores, or canned Italian sardines without the tomato. When I was a lad doing manual labor with mostly black and hispanic guys during summers, our favorite sandwich was sardines and onion slices with some mayo, on a hard roll. Maybe a leaf or two of lettuce.
- Another easy Sicilian one, ubiquitous in Sicily - Pasta alla Norma. You can use whatever type of pasta you like for that.
what you really need is an instant read (or as close to instant as possible) digital meat thermometer / probe, and calibrate it yourself. you don't want to use a thermometer that takes 20 seconds to get a reading while you're burning your sleeve.