Motocross and midnight pasta.

Dear friends,

As I do nearly every Saturday, I spent my morning drinking coffee and watching my favorite shows on the Food Network. Normally, I’ll make a fritatta with whatever’s left in the fridge for our weekend breakfasts, but I was feeling lazy this morning so an early meal eluded me.

By 10:30 am, though, I was starving and the Barefoot Contessa’s Midnight Pasta was calling to me. I answered.

The dish is called Midnight Pasta because it’s a simple recipe chefs like to make when their shift ends. There’s only one way to describe the dish and it’s an oxymoron: simply exquisite.

Our Midnight-Pasta-served-as-brunch was on the stove for all of about five minutes before one hungry mother and two big boys devoured it.

The oldest boy just happened to be ducking in the house for a drink. He had been out riding his dirt bike and I think his stomach must have been talking to him, too. Talk about oxymorons — the sweaty brute at the kitchen counter eating my fine pasta was a study in contrasts.

If you’ve got hungry mouths to feed, give Ina’s recipe a try. Midnight or mid-day, it won’t disappoint.

With gratitude {for Food Network inspiration that filled three hungry bellies this morning},

Joan, who wants observant readers to know that the “Eately” plate in the first photo might or might not have accidentally fallen from the restaurant’s table into her bag during her recent trip to NYC but don’t ask Kate about it because she saw nothing

The Barefoot Contessa’s Midnight Pasta

One pound spaghetti, cooked al dente

1 cup pasta water

1/3 cup olive oil

8 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

A pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 cup torn fresh spinach

Cracked pepper


Cook pasta and reserve 1 to 1 1/2 cups pasta water. Heat oil in large skillet (I prefer cast iron) over medium high heat and saute garlic until fragrant (not brown). Add pasta water, lower heat a bit, and add salt, cracked pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Let “sauce” bubble on the stove until garlic is translucent (about five minutes). Add cooked pasta to the skillet and toss with the sauce. Add parsley, spinach and cheese, and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately. Tasting Notes: Ina’s recipe didn’t call for spinach, but I had a fresh bunch in the fridge that was calling to be used so I threw it in. I’m so glad I did.

For your viewing pleasure.

Dear friends,

I should be ashamed to admit this, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

We have four televisions in our home.

And you’ve figured out by now that there’s four people in our house. So, yes, it’s not uncommon for each of us to watch television alone in a separate room — me in the master bedroom watching the Food Network or an old movie; Mr. Mom in the den watching the latest endurocross; Kate in her bedroom watching “Teen Mom” or “Friday Night Lights” or “The Office;” and Parker in the kitchen watching “Tosh.0” or “Ridiculousness” or “Storage Wars.”

It’s kind of shocking how varied our tastes are and how openly we disparage the choices of every other viewer in the household.

Occasionally, though, our sensibilities converge and it’s a beautiful thing indeed.

Last night, while waiting for Mr. Mom’s pork loin to finish on the grill, three of the four of us found ourselves gathered around the kitchen television, snacking and wishing supper would hurry up and cook already. Parker and Mr. Mom were watching “Pass Time,” a reality/game show on the Speed network where the objective is to predict the elapsed times of drag racing vehicles.

Believe it or not, I know a little about drag racing. And the other two motor heads that were in the room with me know a fair bit, too. Our competitive spirits flourished last night as we tried to best each other predicting times for a variety of vehicles.

(By the way, in case you’re wondering how a girl like me knows anything about drag racing, I have to attribute it all to Mr. Mom. In his 20s, he was an accomplished and money-winning racer. I didn’t spend much time at the track because that’s not exactly my kind of, um, mileau. But you can’t be married to a man obsessed with fast cars without absorbing some of the information. To this day, I know the sound of a fine running engine when I hear it and I have a good idea of how much money goes into building a 8.9-second car.)

Anyway, that show ended and the darn pork loin still wasn’t cooked. I tried to switch to “What Not to Wear” (an all-time favorite of mine!) and I thought Mr. Mom and Parker were going to wrestle the remote out of my matronly hands. We ended up watching “Workaholics,” a Comedy Central show that I can best describe as “The Office” meets “Beavis and Butthead.”

Mr. Mom and Parker promised it was funny. I was skeptical, but found myself laughing out loud only a few minutes in. I don’t often share a sense of humor with the juvenile and male tastes that dominate my household but, hey, it happened to work for all of us last night.

As soon as supper was fully cooked and consumed, however, Parker asked to borrow my car so he could watch game #1 of the NBA finals at a friend’s house. “Really?” I asked, shocked. “You don’t want to watch the game with Dad and me?”

Yeah. You know the answer to that question, don’t you?

With gratitude {for our family television hour, while it lasted},

Joan, who declares the best thing she has watched on television this week is the HBO documentary “Weight of the Nation” and the worst is “Housewives of New York City”