Last weekend a snowstorm descended on Bossy’s small town, and Bossy’s mom, who lives one block away, had a brilliant idea. “I’m throwing a Cook the Contents of Your Freezer and Pantry Party,” she said — the idea being to get creative with what you have on hand and allow yourself to be snowed-in.
This party idea was tailor made for Bossy, who is not typically a recipe follower — and Bossy is nothing if not up for a cooking challenge, especially if it includes Bossy’s neighborhood friend Barry, whose pantry castoffs include enough martini makings to drown a Not Stray cat named Baby David.
So Bossy retired to her kitchen, where retired equals walked the three steps within her shoebox diorama dressed as a house.
But somewhere within that hot mess which is actually quite icy, Bossy located this, which was given to Bossy when she found herself in the middle of a family emergency two years ago:
Using the frozen spinach manicotti as her foundation, Bossy raided her refrigerator and pantry for the rest of the ingredients:
The first thing Bossy did was fire up her black iron skillet with some olive oil and throw in the scant red onion remains, the shallot, and garlic:
Next Bossy dumped the bag of frozen spinach into the onion mixture and cooked until assimilated:
Meanwhile, Bossy began to create a faux béchamel sauce. Come to think of it, faux perfectly defines most everything in Bossy’s makeshift life. In this case Bossy dumped a bunch of half and half into the bottom of her saucepan and added lots and lots of nutmeg:
Next Bossy added some flour to the mixture:
With the faux béchamel sauce complete, Bossy walked clear over two inches to her right and dumped the fresh spinach, capers, parsley, and chopped dill into her skillet:
Next Bossy grated one carpal tunnel syndrome’s worth of fresh pecorino cheese directly into the hot pan to melt:
With her main dish in a holding pattern, Bossy got all ambitious and decided to raid her pantry for a quick something she could add to the appetizer table. First Bossy brought out her latest batch of favorite:
Then Bossy heated another black iron skillet with olive oil and added scads of sea salt and tons of cinnamon sugar:
And then Bossy tossed her cashews into the pan and cooked them until they were caramelized and crunchy:
But back to the entrée. Next Bossy tended to the skill-intensive preparation of her frozen manicotti:
Next Bossy put some faux béchamel and some of her spinach mixture in the bottom of an oven safe casserole pan and placed the manicotti on top:
And then Bossy topped the manicotti with the remaining béchamel and spinach and more grated cheese:
Bossy placed the experiment in an oven preheated to 400 degrees and cooked it for thirty minutes and then walked in the snow to her mom’s house, where the guests were beginning to assemble:
And everything looked so festive:
A half hour prior to sitting down to eat, Bossy reheated her recipe, heretofore known as Snowstorm Manicotti:
And then Bossy placed her finished dish on the table along with the rest of the freezer and pantry delicacies:
And everything was delicious! Bossy’s friend Barry said Bossy’s Snowstorm Manicotti had a sophisticated flavor set, where sophisticated equals the very ingredients you will use to make cinnamon toast tomorrow morning.
Bossy thinks the very next time you are snowed in and have a package of two-year-old frozen spinach manicotti along with fresh spinach and capers and one-half of a very old, very strong red onion and a shallot and some garlic and a thing of half and half and some dill and parsley and nutmeg and panko, you should consider making this dish. Or call for pizza.