When the film Godfather made its magic in 1972, that magic continues in its sequels as well! I am among those innumerable souls who keep on binge-watching upon such classics. The story radiates the top to the bottom concept of mafia life. Revolving around the life of capo and regular chaos surrounding it, this Francis Ford Coppola genius engraves the elegance of negative characterization and script in the mind of human cravings. It would be true to say that the makers of Godfather made the mafia synonymous with the mysterious and charismatic personality of Italians. The lure stays even to this day when as a regular audience, I try to remind my mind that that is not the correct meaning of whatever style and panache that I enjoy! It is somewhat contradictory to my practicality and belief yet, that whenever I look for comfort in my life, the food that I gravitate towards is Italian. The sense of love, safety, and everything that is so opposite to mafia and mafia life are what we look for whenever we watch and rewatch the movie. It is quite disturbing, but perhaps because I first watched it at the stage where everything and anything had to have a happy ending! Romance bloomed from every alley, and I confirmed for myself that everything Italian must be the charismatic cause of my acceptance of their staged reality. Despite realizing it to be my imaginative genius, like many others, I too cannot seem to move away from its cinematic charm. Whenever I see the movie or its likes, I forget my resolve to be non-partial and end up leaning towards the idea of love in the zone of war!
My stomach does not stop itself from its regular summersaults and cravings while I sink deeper in the comforting corner of my couch. As I continue with this magic and cure my Italian fever I suddenly got up to toss another version to add to the thousands of pre-existing Pasta recipes. All this just to satisfy my craving for everything Italian. However, at the back of my head, I still aim to please my (almost 9-year-old) best and worst food critic. My son the firecracker in his own right demand the same respect as any celebrity chef as far as his tasting of food is concerned! So, to please his finicky taste buds, I stuck to my version of Pasta in the white mushroom sauce! As I was wrapping up the flavors that I can come up with, I realized a full batch of plain boiled Penne was still resting in one of those dark alleys of my fridge. Along its side, I saw eight to ten raw mushrooms peaking over for some mercy to be shown upon. This was a sign from the holy spirits of food Gods that I had to commit my crime and come up with today’s Italian concoction of my own! I washed these mushrooms and coarsely chopped them into tiny bits. I then took four-five sautéed ones separately and just played around with them with half a bowl of curd and 1/2 tsp. of garlic paste, a pinch of oregano, salt, and pepper to taste.
With an eye on the TV for those memorable godfather moments, I put heat on high flame and added some olive oil. To the heated glory, I put in my mushroom and curd-garlic paste. Then in came the remaining chopped ones and coriander leaves (a small fistful). As I was appreciating the dialogues and absorbing the character expression of the masterpiece in front of me, I remembered to add some salt and fresh cream (3 tablespoons full). Then I churned it a minute with my spatula to make the exquisite thick, smooth paste. Believe me, the movie has its share of salt and pepper moments. With eyes glued on the screen, I ignored my son’s voice of protest as his stomach grumbled with fake hunger when his nose realized I was making the love of his life! I smiled at his expressions because unlike me he is so like me. His consistent adoration for pasta (in any form) is so like mine. As I keep on coming back to my cinema of choice now and then, he also cannot help coming back to the food he loves! We both are so cliched Italian at heart!
Focussing back on my food for the day, I hurriedly mixed the leftover pasta and sprinkled some parmesan in little milk on medium flame. That was my take on decadence and opulence! I could smell the taste and so could my son from the next room. Happy with how it turned out, I poured it in a fancy platter and drizzled some extra virgin olive oil over this Italian chaos generously. Mamma Mia! My twist on Pasta in a white Mushroom sauce is so ready to be enjoyed.
A definite crowd-pleaser, the moment I took my first mouthful, my eyes closed in ecstasy on their own. With the very loud ‘yums’ from my son at frequent junctions of eating, I knew that exact moment when this has qualified as a regular recipe in our house! The movie ended and so did my food. I sighed with the contentment that it was a perfect way for me to enjoy this classic with my version of a classic. I could feel those vibes of what I call a food-induced coma in my humble abode. There was a sense of calm emanating from the other room as well. With a fully wiped plate, even the steamed vegetables on the side made this momma proud of her small everyday victory. That is what we mothers of stubborn young ones look for after all! He had his greens. Didn’t I tell you somewhere in the middle of my writing that there is an Italian hidden in my soul? It is exactly what the dialogue in the movie, ‘…I am gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.’ And he didn’t. As I put our plates in the dishwasher and hung my apron for the night, I grinned to myself. I sauntered towards my bed to call it a night. I sighed as I snuggled with my baby on the side and in my very over-the-top Italian accent I chuckled at my subtle win of this day and monologued my last conversation with my brain. As I hinted earlier, I still maintain to in my romantic mind Italians do mean business. But so, do I. Ready to dig in?