Halloween is upon us and, like many others, it is on the top tier of holidays for me. In recent years, my wife and I like to have an enjoyable smoke of a good indica, throw on a classic Halloween movie, and hand out treats to the many boils and ghouls who darken our doorstep, threatening tricks if we do not succumb to their demands. This year I wanted to add a nice pasta dinner to our new routine, and in my search for Halloween shaped pasta I stumbled upon something I wish I hadn’t. I didn’t feel this way because what I found was bad in any way…quite the opposite in fact. No, it was the multiple nightmares that preceded the discovery that led me to this conclusion. This beautifully horrific thing called Creepypasta.
Telling ghost stories was a pretty major staple of life for me growing up. We told them around campfires, summoned spirits with ouija boards, read “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” and collected the classic “Goosebumps” novels. We watched shows like “Are you afraid of the dark?”, cartoons such as “Tales from the Cryptkeeper”, and gathered our friends in dark bathrooms to see Bloody Mary appear to us in the mirror on our sleepovers. I was in the Scouts as a child and I remember that, when camping, the counselors had a ghost story so elaborate they even said the old shack we passed on our trail walk the following day was the home of the tale’s monstrous villain. That messed me up pretty good.
When I stumbled upon the website Creepypasta.com – acting exactly like the moron stoner whose curiosity and naivety leads him straight into the monsters lair – I was quickly beheaded by the sheer volume of incredible scary and paranormal short stories told by authors from all walks of life. All perfectly curated by the Creepypasta.com team.
Creepypasta has a strange history, with a very vague and argued origin. In any case, Creepypasta – a play on the 4chan word “copypasta” – got prominence on 4chan and Encyclopedia Dramatica where people would circulate various short stories, memes and personal anecdotes which always blurred the lines for readers between truth and fiction (like any good ghost story should). Creepypasta.com simply began collecting and curating the stories into a one stop shop for all your spooky needs. The fiction has become so popular that the site no longer searches for content and solely relies on submissions direct from the authors themselves. Speaking of the authors, many have gained such large followings and attention that Creepypastas have become a way for many aspiring writers to put their work out there. With Clive Barker creating a show based on his own Creepypasta works, and the television anthology series “Channel Zero” – with its seasons being straight adaptations of popular Creepypastas – you very well may be reading a short from the next Hitchcock.
Keeping with my whole nerdy schtick here, I highly recommend a few creepy, interesting, and some down right disturbing looks at a few of our favorite geeky things. “Pokemon Lost Silver” follows the tale of the narrator as he purchases a copy of the Pokemon game from a local store and quickly finds a secret message buried in the game’s secrets and data saved on an ominous save file left by the previous owner. “Ben Drowned,” a haunting story of a Zelda Cartridge, is one of the most famous Creepypastas of all time, and helped propel the internet sensation. Written by Alex Hall, “Ben Drowned” follows a similar outline as the “Pokemon Lost Silver” Creepypasta where it follows the narrator’s experience with a past user’s save file. The two differ in the respect that while “Pokemon Lost Silver” can get intriguing, Zelda’s “Ben Drowned” is pure nightmare fuel. Youtube videos of the game suddenly appeared and, like any good Creepypasta, reality and fiction began to blur. The story skyrocketed to the point that the original creator had to come out and inform people it was all made up; complete with a tutorial on how he pulled off the videos.
In my eyes, any good ghost story should be accompanied by a hot meal (after a solid toke to get you in the spirit, obviously). The cannabis of choice for the evening of frightful delights is the classic indica Frankenstein. Picked partially for the flowers name – and one of my favorite movies – but ultimately for the dual effects. Frankenstein will keep you relaxed and engaged with the terrifying words of the Creepypasta’s, but with it’s late hitting sleepy effects, Frankenstein will also easily help you drift off to dreamland later while you hide under your sheets. The hunger effects and the spicy flavours of this very potent strain also pairs perfectly with the themed pasta dish.
“Halloween shaped pasta” – the idea that started this whole descent into terror – surprisingly proved to be a horror in and of itself as I had the hardest time finding some. I searched from store to store and scoured the internet, only to fail miserably. I was gutted and furious…but mostly gutted. Luckily the next part was the easiest: What sauce would go good with Halloween? A spicy sauce no doubt, and there is nothing better than a solid and easy Arrabiata sauce. The Sauce is so spicy that the dishes name, Arrabbiata translates to “Angry”. I personally think something that is called “Angry” sauce is pretty perfect for this holiday. Plus, there is nothing wrong with getting those endorphins up before reading some spooky tales, right? Now back to the noodle situation. What can I substitute for the forsaken halloween shaped noodle that has plagued my soul!? Ahem. So I attacked this from a different angle. This started out with me wanting to add something to my own Halloween traditions, and as such I am making a very traditional sauce. So I went with Penne, why not stick to tradition and go with the noodle that best suits this dish? A much better choice on my part. At least that’s my reasoning and I am sticking to it…suck Frankenstein’s Monster’s discarded dicks “Halloween shaped Pasta”. Ok, maybe I was mostly furious.
|Prep Time: 10 min.||Cook Time: 60 min||Total Time: 70 min.|
|Course: Main Course||Servings: 4 – 6|
Traditionally made with Chilli Peppers, we are taking the easy path and simply using Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, something found in most household pantries. The benefit of using the Crushed Red pepper flakes is that it provides you with an easier way to manage the spice level to your personal preferences. Not normally done, but I also like to add a large piece or “chunk” of Red Bell Pepper into the sauce for some extra flavouring.
- 1 pound Penne
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 Teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (To personal tastes)
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 Bay leaf
- 15 fresh basil leaves
- Large piece of Sweet Red Bell Pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese (or Parmesan cheese), for topping
- Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven medium heat. Add Onions and Salt and pepper to taste. Cook Onions till translucent. About 3 mins.
- Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring for 30 seconds.
- Add diced tomatoes and Red Pepper chunk. Bring to boil stirring often
- Lower heat and stir in crushed tomatoes and Bay leaf.
- Bring sauce to a simmer over low heat and cook for 45-60 minutes. Stirring occasionally. This is a “the longer it cooks, the better it tastes” situation.
- Meanwhile, while sauce simmers bring a large pot of water to boil
- Add pasta to the large pot of boiling water, cook according to package instructions, until tender. Unsally 8-10 minutes.
- Stir the fresh basil into the sauce.
- When pasta is cooked, drain the water.
- Remove bay Leaf and Red Pepper chunk from the sauce and discard.
- Add Pasta to the sauce. Toss well.
- Serve topped with a generous portion of grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Arrabiata sauce is so versatile it can be served as the base for so many meals. Serve with Grilled Chicken, Ricotta Meatballs, mushrooms and peppers. You can even use it for a killer spicy Pizza base. I highly recommend my personal favorite, Spicy italian sausage. So have a super fright filled Halloween, and I hope the spice of the Arrabiata Sauce helps you get through the Creepypasta stories…but don’t you worry, the Frankenstein will help you sleep at night.
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