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Boppity-boopity

October 29, 2011

It had to happen sometime:  documentation of the infamous boppity-boopity, aka Jeff’s spicy sausage, aka baked ziti with fennel in a Mornay sauce by Emeril.

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Background:  Jeff made us this dish one time ages ago (during our first year? second year?) and we LOVED it.  It’s spicy and cheesy and delicious.  Actually it was TOO spicy the first time – I distinctly remember having trouble eating it even though it tasted wonderful, hence the name “Jeff’s spicy sausage.”  Jeff’s family is Italian, and he imitates the way Italians speak by saying things like “a-boppity boopity!” so that’s where the other name comes from.  It’s our way of saying “let’s eat delicious Italian things tonight.”

Sarah and I have tried to replicate this recipe many times, and it works out better some days than others.  I still think Jeff’s is the best though.

Sunday night (after we ran a 5k!) we made boppity-boopity and a salad with homemade Caesar dressing (because we had leftover anchovy paste from the fish dish the other night) and garlic rolls.

Since I was making the bread at the same time as dinner I debated a few options for how to turn fresh bread into garlic bread.

Option 1:  bake bread as usual, slice, add garlic and butter, and reheat in oven

Option 2:  bake bread, slice, add sautéed garlic and butter while it’s still warm

Option 3:  bake garlic into bread

Number 3 won out as a time-saver and oven-saver (since the pasta had to go in there too).  I made little rolls since I didn’t want a ton of leftover garlicy bread that wouldn’t be too good for other things.  Two had butter and raw garlic in them and the other two just garlic.  Of course they turned out bigger than anticipated.

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Salad dressing was olive oil, anchovy paste, mayo, white wine vinegar, s&p, lemon juice (also leftover from the fish), and dijon all shaken together in a jar.  Served on farmers’ market lettuce with some parm on top.

Now for the pasta recipe (copyright Emeril):

1)  sauté fennel, then add spicy Italian sausage (and red pepper flakes)

2)  meanwhile, cook pasta

3)  the sauce is a standard white sauce (roux, milk) with nutmeg and parmesan cheese mixed in

4)  assemble in baking dish (mix in basil if available), sprinkle with extra cheese and basil, bake in oven for a few minutes

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This time the secret ingredient was a little bit of leftover kale!  Just enough to add some green, since the basil from the patio “garden” is definitely on its last legs.

And of course this must be consumed with wine!  The best pairing for this dish is obviously a Medici pinot noir (aka Jeff’s grandparents’ winery!).  Such a good pinot!

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Best part?  Lots of leftovers!

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