While watching Jersey Shore a week and a half ago I got the brilliant idea to cook an Italian feast for the next week’s viewing. If you’ve ever watched the show, you know that those guidos are dumb as rocks, but they sure can cook. Did you see the delicious breakfast sandwich that The Situation made at 6AM, ate while watching Pauly D smash some girl and even offered half of it to Pauly while he was smashing? Classic. I have to say, it made me a little hungry, so why not eat some good food along with them?
Coming up with a menu for our feast was pretty easy. There had to be a pasta course, a cutlet course, and some vegetables. The only decisions left where which kind of sauce and which meat. I flipped through a few cookbooks, drooled over the pictures in The Silver Spoon Pasta book, bookmarked several pages, and ultimately settled on penne with vodka sauce, breaded pork cutlets, salad, and Italian bread.
Italian bread generally doesn’t do much for me, but I can get excited about almost any variety of bread when I’m the one making it. I found a recipe on Annie’s Eats, and I got to work.
The only change I made to the recipe was to skip the dry milk and substitute regular milk for the water, which seemed to work out fine.
The loaves were huge! I am highly amused by anything that’s much larger or smaller than normal, so these giant loaves made my day.
They were so big that they grew into each other. Does anyone remember burger buddies from Burger King circa 1989? Two mini burgers with their buns attached? I used to love those things.
This bread turned out really well, although I think it was ever so slightly over-baked. Next time I’ll probably start checking the internal temperature around the 30-minute mark instead of the 40-minute mark.
Cutlets + salad
The salad contained 1 large cucumber, 2 green bell peppers, 1/2 red onion, 3 heirloom tomatoes, crumbled feta, a handful of dill, olive oil, white wine vinegar, dried oregano, salt & pepper.
The cutlet set-up
Pound out a couple of pounds of pork cutlets until they’re an even thickness and season with salt and pepper. Dip them in flour, then beaten eggs, then breadcrumbs, and cook them in a hot skillet with a couple tablespoons each of butter and olive oil for maybe 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate line with paper towels while you cook the rest. Serve with lemon wedges.
Making the vodka sauce. I swear I was saying, “This looks so good” as this picture was taken. I guess I need to work on coordinating my facial expressions with the words coming out of my mouth.
Finished penne + sizzling cutlets
The buffet line.
Is it true that in Jersey people have trash cans in their dining room and use lawn chairs at the dinner table? If so, we were spot on.
The shirt before the shirt
Guidos + guidette
For dessert: Magic cookie bars with a vanilla wafer base instead of a graham cracker one. Pretty intense. Pretty good.
I love Snooki.