mike kostyo

I know food.

lemon and roasted garlic fettuccine w/ brussels sprouts leaves and bacon

So, the other day I was sitting in the George Sherman Union (named after the guy from The Jeffersons) here at Boston University, on my lunch break, enjoying some food with some coworkers, this story is already good, when these kids who were here for an orientation or conference or something started freaking out and running out of the building and so on and so forth, which wasn't really that surprising because they always do that. When you get them in packs they get all crazy and move their bodies a lot and instead of talking to each other they just kind of announce things really loudly. Youngsters. Like, just on the way to that important business lunch we were walking down the street and this young man was walking with his Mom and then he decided to just start doing this scarecrow walk-dance, like a floppy skippy kind of thing, and then he was finished. Who knows? Hopefully they teach impulse control as a part of the liberal arts curriculum.

Anway, as the kids were leaving, two of them yelled this to each other across the room because that's an appropriate way to converse:


Good conversation. Very normal at a normal decibel level. Anyway, aside from "Shutup," I was thinking, "Oh, what a guillable dummy. Does she really think there was an earthquake? Come on." But don't I feel sheepish now, because apparently there was an earthquake? So they say. I didn't notice anything at all. Which made me sad, because I love natural disasters! And there was one right here, under my feet!

So here's what I like about natural disasters. I feel like I have to explain myself because being offended by things is popular now. Obviously I don't like when lots of people die in natural disasters or they lose their family photo album or other sad things. But I do like how big weather events shut people up about nonsense boring things.

It just seems like when there is a big blizzard or thunderstorm or hurricane or another example it's nice that all of a sudden people have a common thing to worry about and think about and they can stop complaining about how their spouse is like a ball and chain and how they went to dinner and the waiter said, "How are we doing here?" and they don't like it when waiters act like they are friends with everyone, so it was like, "Should I leave a smaller tip," but they still left their usual 20% tip because they understand working a service job in this economy. Like, maybe I'll be watching something about Michele Bachmann and how is it cool that she blames Obama for swine flu discuss and I'll just think, "You know, if aliens landed right now we would all have to talk about that instead." Not that I'm comparing aliens to natural disasters. Hi aliens! But anything to change the conversation, you know?

So, anyway, as you can imagine I was very excited about Horrorcane Irene. I mean, maybe if a hurricane is going to blow you into the ocean you will think twice about making a Facebook status update about how much gas your dog has tonight. "Sorry, can't complain about Mondays with you, I have to buy flashlights!" (Incidentally, a lot of the articles I read that said to make a hurricane kit recommended to have bleach in it. What is that for? For cleaning? Because your house is unsightly after the hurricane? It doesn't really matter, because I didn't make a kit, but I'm just wondering. I guess I just want to hear a story about how people were thankful they had bleach in their hurricane kit after a hurricane). (New parenthesis - never mind, I just looked it up and you can use 16 drops of bleach in 1 gallon of water to disinfect the water if you run out of the other water you are supposed to have in your kit).

Well, to make a long story longer, Hurricane Irene might as well have been the imaginary earthquake, because you know how bad it was? Well, in the middle of the hurricane we went for a walk around the neighborhood. Mmmmhmmm, an extraordinary threat, weather dot com? It was a slightly windy spring rain shower. (Now, I know, a lot of people wished they had it so easy and it caused a lot of damage. I read the news! You can get it on your computer now. See paragraph five). Anyway, life is full of disappointments. Also, it's been way too sunny since the "hurricane."

Anyway, here is some pasta you can make to tide you over until the next disaster? Get it? Tide you over!? More like tidal wave you over! Am I right? Hahahaha. Anyway, it's delicious. I mean. You read the title. That's what it has in it. If you like those things, you'll like this.

lemon and roasted garlic fettuccine w/ brussels sprouts leaves and bacon

+ 1 large head of garlic
+ 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided (1 tablespoon and 2 tablespoons)
+ 1/4 cupped chopped bacon or pancetta
+ 2 tablespoons olive oil
+ zest and juice of one large lemon, separate
+ 2 tablespoons butter
+ 4-6 large brussels sprouts, leaves pulled off and hearts sliced thin
+ 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano plus extra for garnish
+ 1 pound fettuccine
+ salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the very top garlic bulb off, exposing the tops of each clove. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt over the cloves. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place garlic into a small pan. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cloves are soft. When cool enough to touch, squeeze the soft cloves out of their skins. Set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat the bacon or pancetta over medium heat until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the remaining fat.

Add the olive oil and lemon zest to the tablespoon of bacon fat left in the pan and heat for three minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and heat until just melted. Add the brussels sprouts leaves and hearts and heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice to the pan and scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom. Turn off the heat. Add the 1 cup Pecorino Romano and reserved roasted garlic.

Meanwhile, prepare the fettuccini in a large pot of salted boiling water. When the pasta is just before al dente, transfer from the pot to the saute pan. Turn the heat to medium. Add a 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the saute pan. Cook, stirring constantly, adding more pasta water as needed, until the sauce is creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with a bit of Pecorino Romano and pepper to serve.

makes 4 to 6 servings