Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Cheese Ravioli with Sausage Marinara

THE GAME: Duke vs Michigan State

I don't usually get into college basketball until the new year... actually, to be honest, these days I don't really get into college basketball until the tournament starts in March. I'm not going to go full Grumpy Old Man and explain all the reasons why I think college basketball isn't 1/10th as exciting as it used to be. We've been over that before.

But #1 against #2 is pretty cool, so I decided to watch.

NOTES ON THE FOOD:
  • I can't tell you exactly where the idea for this one came from... so far, this November is about as mild as it can get. It was 81ยบ where I live today; tomorrow is forecasted to be the same. (For lunch, one of my best friends and I sat in a courtyard by his office and ate tacos; we had to move to a shaded table at one point because it was too hot in the sun.) Warm ravioli and meat sauce isn't exactly what I crave on days like today. Whatever, it still sounded good. 
  • I bought a pound of sweet Italian sausage links at the butcher and cooked them in my wok, then drained the fat. You don't have to do this if you don't want to - pork fat certainly tastes good - but I was only cooking for myself, I didn't feel the need for any extra fat. 
  • I have no idea how many different brands of marinara sauce you can buy in jars. Probably hundreds. Maybe thousands. There may be something more gourmet than Emeril's sauce, but I don't care: I really like it. (True, if it wasn't one of the only marinara sauces my butcher has for sale, I probably would not have purchased it. I still like it.) I emptied the jar into my wok, stirred in some fresh garlic and other spices, and set the burner to low, letting it simmer for one hour. I then removed it from the heat and added fresh basil. 
  • I boiled cheese ravioli (from a local Italian market) in salted water for a few minutes, ladled them into a bowl, and topped it with the sausage marinara and additional basil. 
  • And there was garlic bread. Because garlic bread is delicious. 


NOTES ON THE GAME:
  • Dick Vitale is not calling this game. That's always a pleasant surprise.  
  • Just in case you're not into college basketball recruiting: Duke's freshman class includes the #1-ranked freshman in the country (Marvin Bagley III) and three other recruits in the Top 10. It's possibly the best recruiting class since the Fab Five, 26 years ago. 
  • I think Coach K and Tom Izzo are the two best coaches in America. Coach K's record speaks for itself; what Izzo has done in his career despite only coaching one lottery pick (Jason Richardson, 2001) is absolutely remarkable. 
  • Coach K on his freshmen: "I like 'em a lot." Well... good.  
  • Jesus, ten minutes into this game and I'm not sure the Lakers are better than either of these teams. (I'm joking... mostly.)
  • Marvin Bagley somehow got injured and now he's lying on the court with his eyes closed. He's either really hurt or this is a dramatic display that rivals anything a certain longtime Laker diva ever did. 
  • The replay shows that he took a poke in the eye from another player's finger. That certainly looked uncomfortable, but for a minute there it looked like Bagley was having a heat attack. 
  • Duke had a 10-point lead. A few minutes later, Michigan State was back on top. Well-coached teams are never out of it. 
  • Duke shot 18 free throws in the first half; MSU shot 6. No surprises there. 
  • At halftime, all the announcers are talking about is college football. I guess they feel the same as I do. 
  • Jay Bilas just warned us to "expect the unexpected." This may be off topic, but what's your favorite nonsensical line from Road House: "Expect the unexpected," "Pain don't hurt," or "Nobody ever wins a fight"? I gotta go with "Pain don't hurt".... but let's be honest, none of those can possibly hold a candle to "I used to fuck guys like you in prison." On my list of lifelong goals, somewhere between seeing the Midnight Sun Game in Fairbanks and kayaking the Mississippi, is at least once in my life having the opportunity to say to someone with a straight face: "I used to fuck guys like you in prison."
  • This game is way better than I expected. 61-59 MSU with 10 minutes to play. 
  • Grayson Allen just drained a three to put Duke up 7 with one minute to play. That's 35 for him tonight. If he doesn't get suspended this season for tripping opponents like a punk, he might well be the Player of the Year. (He scores two more to finish the game with 37.)
  • Duke wins by 7. Tom Izzo is now 1-11 against Duke in his career. 
  • Duke's ball movement is phenomenal, and Bagley didn't even play in the second half. I don't see how anyone but Duke can be the favorite to win the title this year. Imagine this team after they play together for another 30+ games. 

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