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Pastabilly

pasta sausage chili cheese bad decision dead milkmen
“I’m all messed up on cough syrup now, so just like nevermind (yes ma’am!)”

Theme song by The Dead Milkmen “Rastabilly” from Big Lizard In My Backyard
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Punk rock has been the inspiration for several Music & Food recipes. I’m old enough to call myself “punk rock grandpa” and remember both the birth of punk and actual punk rock house parties. I love the OG NY attitude of the Ramones. I dig the pseudo-UK polit-punk of Green Day. Hell, I even have an affection for the pop-punk of Bowling For Soup. And I absolutely adore the brilliant stand-up punk comedy of The Dead Milkmen. At a time where way too many punk bands took themselves way too seriously, the Milkmen said “fuck it – let’s have some fun!” Sloppy goofy nerdy punk fun. I was lucky enough to see them multiple times live in my college years. I owned a “Bitchin’ Camaro” during those years and consider “Punk Rock Girl” to be one of the greatest rock songs ever. I’ll admit the theme here is perhaps one of the weaker Milkmen tracks, but the overall Dead Milkmen vibe is a perfect fit for this culinary joke.

This recipe is the result of seeing a post on Twitter asking whether this is a thing:

twitter pic pastadogs

The answer clearly should have been “no” but out of what had to be sheer boredom several people began considering what sauce would you top this abomination with. After several clear insults to classic Italian cuisine, I offered the obvious Cincinnati Chili option. That gained traction in the discussion which then led me to push the envelope and ask about placing the whole mess in a bun. “Was the too far?”, I asked. “You’re shoving pasta through hot dogs. What’s too far anymore?”, was the reply.

So I decided to accept the challenge, embrace the madness, and create the Cthulu of Pastafarian nightmares but make it vegetarian because “why the fuck not?” This is the visual record of my descent into the hellscape of pasta impaled sausages.

making pastabilly

This dish shares several attributes with The Dead Milkmen. Both are easily dismissed as jokes, silly, not worthy of serious consideration. Both are less than attractive but interesting in their own way. And both are surprisingly better than expected. I thought this dish would be dreadful, but both variations were actually kind of good. The “sandwich” version would fit well on a kid’s menu. The “Cincinnati” version is about as good as any Cincinnati Chili service.

While ’80s punk rock definitely needed the sometimes inappropriate sarcasm of the Milkmen, I don’t think anyone in any decade needs this dish. I guarantee I’ll never make it again, ever. 

PASTABILLY
Spaghetti, sausage or hot dogs, Cincinnati chili, cheddar cheese, scallions, potato roll
Make more than enough, trust me

6 seitan hot dogs (see recipe below) [you could also use your favorite hot dog or sausage]
4 to 5 ounces of spaghetti (use a relatively thick spaghetti)
Kinda Like Skyline Chili (see recipe below)
4-ounces cheddar, shredded
1 scallion, sliced
1 potato roll

Place a large pot of water on to boil.

Cut the hot dogs into thirds and lightly roll them on the cutting board to soften. Carefully shove a bunch of pasta into each piece of hot dog. The pieces should be about midway down the pasta. This process is a pain in the ass as dry pasta is wicked delicate and you will be constantly breaking pieces just as you think you’ve succeeded. Your repeated failure here will somehow be a metaphor for persevering in life.

Once you’ve finally stopped cursing the pasta gods and gotten all of your hot dogs impaled, place the bundles in the boiling water and cook according to the pasta instructions. Do not attempt to stir while cooking as there no telling how these bundles will react to being agitated in boiling water. 

When finished cooking, you’ll be surprised to find you can actually dump the pot into a colander and drain like any regular non-abomination pasta. I suppose by this point whatever resistance the pasta and hot dogs had was long ago cooked out. It has been transformed into a new entity: pastabilly

Place two pieces of pastabilly in a hot dog bun. Top with chili, cheddar, and scallions. Place on one side of a plate. On the other, place 4-6 pieces of pastabilly (depending on your willingness to stare into the abyss) and top with a ladle or two of chili. Add a generous helping of cheddar and a sprinkle of scallion. Dig in and ponder what went wrong in your life that brought you to this point.

KINDA LIKE SKYLINE CHILI
Makes about 1 quart

4 cups water
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 yellow onion, diced fine
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1-pound seitan dogs, shredded (see recipe below)

Add all ingredients except the seitan to a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add in the seitan and continue simmering for an hour stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened quite a bit.

SEITAN DOGS
Makes about 2 pounds

2/3 cup cooked red beans
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
4 teaspoon ground mustard
4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoon coriander seed, fine ground
2 teaspoon fennel seed, fine ground
2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon MSG
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon red miso
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup seltzer
2 cup vital wheat gluten

Place the vital wheat gluten in a large bowl.

In a food processor, add the remaining ingredients. Blend on high until it’s smooth and saucy. Pour this sauce into the bowl with the vital wheat gluten. Use a spoon or spatula to thoroughly combine everything. When it gets too hard to mix, use your hands. You do not want any dry spots. Form into a ball and let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered with a clean towel.

Turn the dough out onto a cutting board and knead with your hands for 2-3 minutes. 

Cut a 1 pound piece off of the dough and roll into the shape of a small salami or deli loaf. Wrap tightly in foil and set aside.

Divide the remaining seitan into 2 1/2-ounce chunks. Roll and press the seitan into a sausage shape. Roll each sausage in aluminum foil. Twist the ends so that the seitan is completely closed off. Add the seitan sausages and loaf into a steamer basket and let them steam for 40-50 minutes.

Transfer from the steamer basket to a cooling rack. Let them cool for 10 minutes. Unwrap the dogs and place them back on the rack to cool completely. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge overnight before using them.

Posted in bad decision, bushwick, cheese, chili, cooking, food, foodmusic, hot dog, mashup, music, musicfood, pasta, recipe, sandwich, seitan, ugly delicious, vegetarian

2 Comments

  1. narf7

    As a culturally devoid Australian (we don’t do “culture” here…) and an expat U.K.ite, we used to watch Honey Boo-Boo here with equal measures of admiration and fear. That’s kind of what I am feeling with this post but then I got to the bit where you shared the recipe for the hotdogs AND the chilli and Pavlov’s dog took over from my inner “get in the car Rover, we are going for a walk…” natural fear of the metaphorical visit to the Vets…This is a triumph of a post. As an expat Liverpoolite and son of punk who was in on the groundfloor right up till he discovered The Sisters of Mercy and switched allegiance, my husband is probably going to twitch about the Ramones but he is all over any musical genre that takes the piss of itself so I might have to ask him about The Dead Milkmen. He is more of a Clash man but hey, whatchagonnadoeh? Horses for courses…

    I am unlikely to ever make hotdogs with spaghetti in them but I AM likely to make those hotdogs on repeat. Same goes for that stellar looking chilli. By the way, should you EVER feel like revisiting the whole pasta in the hotdog thang, you could first shove a metal skewer (one of those twisty metal kebab skewers might do the trick too…) through the hotdogs prior to inserting said spaghetti making the whole process a whole LOT easier. You’re welcome…

    • Frank Davis

      Thanks for the great comments. Tell your husband that my punk tastes tend toward the US mostly because I was a part of that scene in the ’70/’80. I have massive respect for the UK punk scene and acknowledge their influence on the States just as the States influenced the UK. As an NYC via the Midwest guy, the Ramones are punk icons even if ultimately they became less and less punk. Still, you remind me I need to look across the pond for a few UK punk-inspired recipes.

      Yeah – this dish has a definitely Honey Boo-Boo vibe. My family is from the Southern US and I am proud of my white trash culinary heritage even if I rarely cook it. That said, the vegan dog recipe here kills! Works great on the grill or the skillet. The chili was good but I prefer the Detroit coney chili (see the recipe Panic In Detroit). Oh – I tried the metal skewer method as well as chopsticks and a few other piercing ideas. The biggest issue came from breaking pasta as I was putting in more pasta. Even the wife found it tricky. Seitan dogs are denser than processed hot dogs which is likely the issue here.

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