Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The (Spaghetti) Wrestler

While in New York last week, I discovered spaghetti wrestling. Silly me, at first I thought they were two separate entities -- spaghetti, as in something you eat and wrestling, as in something you do. Spaghetti wrestling offers both.

You are, no doubt, more worldly than I and already know this sport of sorts involves inflating a kiddie pool, filling it with pasta, sauce and two wrestlers dressed in provocative undergarments. They then wrestle and tumble amongst the pasta. Mirth ensues.

I found out about spaghetti wrestling not at a city biker bar (though bikers are big fans), but at a local fair in upstate New York where it’s billed as your basic family entertainment.

I went cross-eyed with wonder over issues including:

-- Quantity

A pound of spaghetti amply serves four. Kiddie pools range from a capacity of 100 to 200 gallons. So how many pounds of spaghetti does it take to fill it? The answer? Until it’s full.

-- Safety

The spaghetti and sauce are not hot. This is done more for the sake of preventing plastic pool melt and leakage than protecting the wrestlers from burns.

-- Sauce

The preferred kind of sauce varies from your classic marinara to Wesson oil, which seems lazy. If you’re going to grind fistfuls of spaghetti into someone, you might as well go the distance, so to speak, with a true sauce.

-- Noodle

When I asked which made for the better performance, whole grain spaghetti or the standard semolina pasta, people stepped away from me. Asking whether spaghetti had the edge over linguini or fettuccini seemed out of the question.

-- Marketing

Who. Came. Up. With. This? And why? And why do people think it’s fun? And if I don’t, what does that mean?

-- Morality

Forget kink, it’s an egregious waste of food that could feed the hungry. This is the sort of high-minded thinking that makes one unpopular at parties.

No spaghetti was hurt -- or wasted -- in the production of the above image. Photography occurred post-meal and involved a handful of leftovers. Recipe below.

TKO Spaghetti

1 fennel bulb

2 onion

2 zucchini

4 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine, or more to taste

2 dozen kalamata olives, pitted

sea salt and fresh pepper

4 ounces whole wheat spaghetti

juice and zest of one lemon

handfuls of fresh herbs including parsley, tarragon, basil, thyme, whatever you like

Preheat oven to 425.

Chop up your fennel, onion and zucchini into bite-sized pieces. Spread out into generous-sized roaster, so the vegetables aren't crowded and have space. Mince garlic and stir into vegetables. Stir in one tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup white wine and olives.

Roast vegetables for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, so they roast evenly.

In a large pot, cook spaghetti until just al dente, even a little chewy. Drain well. Return pasta to pot, along with vegetables and any accumulated juices. Grate in lemon zest and squeeze in juice. Chop herbs fine and stir in, along with remaining 1/4 cup of white wine and the last tablespoon of olive oil

Heat over medium-high heat, stirring, until just heated through, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.


  1. Okay, I'm with you on the "sport" and the waste. Is there really such a thing? your imagination could have dreamed it up. Mais non. You are too kind to foist that off on your public. The recipe sounds great - can't wait to try it. Non-anonymous Terry

  2. I want to say you should see my noodle and my underwear but that would be cheap........So I will say this...Nice blog...are you up for a wrestle?