this pasta makes me angry -                                                        cfsg by charlz koskinen
Alas, the perils of living in a MADD-maddened Massachusetts (well, MADD has its paranoid-schizophrenic stronghold on every state, I just couldn't resist the alliteration). Don't get me wrong, the simple pasta throw-together pictured below is good, palatable no less, and the the average Applebees-addled American (woo, I'm on fire!), it's probably downright gourmet. But by my standards, it's about a 1 out of 5. What it is is a mediocre mushroom ragout. The connection between MADD-maddened Massachusetts and my mediocre mushroom melange is that I can't rightfully imagine a proper mushroom ragout that doesn't involve wine, and I couldn't seem to get my hands on any of that, given that I am not of the proper age to do so in a timely fashion. Don't get me wrong, I very much appreciate the basic sentiment of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Impaired driving is totally uncool, and is a bit more than a pet peeve of mine, but I certainly don't see why this country can't even have a rational conversation about lowering the drinking age without Laura Dean-Mooney, the president of MADD, wagging her self-righteous finger at everyone for "forgetting" the terrible tragedies that have befallen innocent victims such as Candace Lightner, the founder of the company who resigned, saying "It has become far more neo-prohibitionist that I had ever envisioned. I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol, I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving." And she left in 1985, and MADD has only gotten worse. She is also famously quoted as saying "If you want to drink, that's your business. But as soon as you drink and get behind the wheel, it becomes my business."

So what the hell, Laura Dean-Mooney? More importantly, what the hell, Federal Government? Let me be clear, for those who don't know. Every state can lower or even abolish it's drinking age. But if it does, ever since 1984 (the year, not the book, but the the former practically alludes to the latter), the Feds will cut road and highway funding by millions. Urgh, MADD makes me so... oh, what's the word?
As I said, I'm not particularly proud of this pasta. Here's how I did it:
-I caramelized about 3C of mirepoix. Yes, I cooked it all until the onions were caramelized. At the end of that, the carrots and celery were like candy, too. In butter, of course.
-I added 16oz of mushrooms, quartered, and ~1C of chopped broccoli stems (let's talk about broccoli stems. Peel them well, or you'll be picking vegetable splinters out of your teeth for the next few hours. Broccoli stems are a tender and delicious. They have all the pleasant pepperiness of the florets, without the fickleness), and 4 canned plum/Roma tomatoes, which I crushed with the back of a wooden spoon immediately, about 1/2C of the juice in the can, and 1/4C red wine vinegar, and 1T of soy sauce (just to really nail the umami point home). I cooked that over super-low heat for something like 30 minutes, after which time I added my mostly-cooked pasta, and finished cooking. Oops, I seem to have abandoned my half-assed bullet point recipe system halfway through there...

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