Title: Dinner for Two
Pairing: Gibbs/ DiNozzo
Summary: The title says it all --- almost.
Archive: What the heck go for it.
He was sitting on the front porch. "Damn, I thought he said six," the young man mused softly as he ran his hands through his already tousled hair.
Just then a dark sedan pulled into the driveway.
"Hey, sorry I'm late," Gibbs said as he stepped up onto the porch, cradling two grocery sacks in his arms.
"That's okay, Boss," Tony said with a grin as he got to his feet, wiping the seat of his pants off with his hands.
Gibbs smiled at the action. "Here, take this," he said as he thrust one of the bags into Tony's hands. "Had to stop by the store on the way home or you'd be eating pizza tonight."
Tony peered into the bag in his hands. "Pizza's good, Boss."
Gibbs grinned as he opened the front door. "Pizza's great, Tony, but I didn't invite you here to order out. I'm cooking."
"You cook?" Tony asked as he followed Jethro into the house.
Jethro smiled over his shoulder as he put the bag of groceries on the counter. He then turned to take Tony's bag as well. "Three divorces, Tony. I'd have starved if I didn't cook."
Tony grinned and then leaned one hip against the counter, watching intently as Gibbs emptied the bags onto the counter and then bent down to pull a tempered glass cutting board out of a cupboard.
"Tony, grab the frying pan for me, will you?" Jethro asked as he pulled a sharp knife from the wooden block beside the stove.
"Frying pan?" Tony asked as he bent down to open the cabinet.
"On the wall, Tony."
"On the wall?" Tony asked as he turned. Sure enough, there were two black pans hanging on the wall behind where he stood. "Which one, Boss?"
"The biggest. And Tony?"
"Yeah?" he said as he pulled down the biggest pan.
"We're not at work. My name's Jethro."
Tony blushed as he turned to hand to frying pan to Jethro. "Okay. This pan is kinda gross, though. Don't you ever clean them?"
Jethro laughed. "It's a cast iron pan, Tony. About fifty years old and well seasoned."
"Yeah. That's what you call it when you get a cast iron pan ready to use. And then you wipe it out after use but you don't ever scrub it." As he watched Tony's face, he smiled again. "Trust me okay?"
"Sure thing, B Jethro."
Jethro lit the burner under the pan and poured some vegetable oil in it. "Tony, grab a wooden spoon over there." He nodded toward the sink and turned back to his task as Tony rummaged around in a drawer for the utensil.
Tony watched as
Jethro picked up a sausage link and sliced it lengthwise before peeling the
casing off and throwing the sausage in the frying pan where it sizzled and
hissed. "Break that apart, Tony."
Tony bent to the task as Jethro tossed another link into the pan. "You know, they make loose sausage, Jethro."
Jethro grinned. "I know that, Tony, but this is hot sausage and the store only had it in the links so I get to peel it and you get to break it apart as it cooks, okay?"
"No problem," Tony replied with a grin as he saluted Gibbs with the wooden spoon.
After he was
finished with the sausage, Gibbs cut open the package of boneless, skinless
chicken breasts and began to cube the meat. When he was finished, he tossed the
chicken pieces into the pan with the sausage. "Don't
let that stick, Tony."
"I've got it covered."
As Tony watched, Gibbs diced up a small onion and one toe of garlic, saving the rest of the clove for later use. These were tossed into the pan as well and Tony breathed deeply of the fragrant steam as he stirred the mixture.
"The chicken cooked through yet, Tony?" Jethro asked as he rummaged through a drawer, looking for a can opener.
"I think so," Tony said, uncertainty making his voice hesitant.
"You don't cook?" Gibbs asked as he opened a can of stewed tomatoes.
Tony blushed. "Not really. I'm a take-out kinda guy."
Gibbs grinned as he dumped the contents of the can into the pan. He then added a can of water and covered the pan with a lid. "Grab the rice out of that cupboard over there Tony."
Tony turned and opened the pantry cupboard, surprised to see everything neatly organized on the shelves. He pulled out a Tupperware container of rice and turned back to hand it to Gibbs. Gibbs measured the rice out and took the lid off the frying pan, which was steaming. After turning the flame down under the pan, Gibbs poured the rice into the pan, stirring it once before covering it again.
"Grab a couple of beers, Tony," he said as he rinsed a green pepper of in the sink. "Top shelf."
Tony grabbed a couple of beers that were sitting on the top shelf of the refrigerator. He popped the top on them and set one on the counter next to Gibbs as he took a deep swallow of his. "Mmm, nice flavor," he said as he held up the bottle. "Grolsch. Never had this one before. I like it. Bottle's different too."
Gibbs nodded as he lifted his own beer and took a deep pull on the bottle. He set the bottle down carefully and then cut the slices of green pepper up into bite sized pieces. "Can you get a bag of frozen peas out of the freezer, Tony?"
Tony nodded and got the required ingredient. "Frozen, Boss -- um, Jethro? After watching you cook, I woulda thought you wouldn't use frozen anything."
Gibbs grinned. "Frozen is better than canned," he explained. "And I don't have the time for a garden or I'd prefer fresh. Sometime I'll take you to my favorite farm stand."
"Fresh produce some of it with the garden soil still on it. Nothing better than fresh picked."
Tony smiled. "So this," he gestured around vaguely. "This isn't a one time thing?"
Jethro smiled and lifted the lid off the frying pan. He stirred the bubbling mixture, noting that the water was about three-quarters absorbed. He then replaced the cover and opened a plastic bag that was sitting on the counter. He frowned and then looked at Tony. "You're not allergic to shellfish are you?"
Tony grinned. "No why?"
"You like shrimp?"
"Good." Gibbs dumped the bag onto the cutting board. The raw shrimp spilled out into a pile. Gibbs picked up a shrimp and peeled it, pinching off the tail and pulling off the legs. He tossed the shell pieces in a pile to the side and began working his way through the pile of shrimp. Once they were all peeled, he picked up a deveining tool and went to work removing the dark vein running down the back of each shrimp.
Tony watched the sure hands of the man standing by him with interest. He was learning a lot about him just by watching how comfortable he was cooking this meal.
Gibbs took the lid off the frying pan again and Tony inhaled deeply.
"Smells great," he noted.
Gibbs smiled. "This is one of my favorite dishes," he said as he stirred the contents of the pan again. "Almost finished." He added the pile of cut green pepper and some frozen peas, stirring them in carefully. He covered the pan again and turned off the burner.
After setting the oven on broil, Jethro began grating a mixture of cheeses. While Jethro grated the cheeses, Tony sliced the loaf of fresh Italian bread Gibbs had picked up.
"So what's this called anyway. Looks interesting."
Gibbs smiled at the comment and Tony was glad he was holding onto the counter as his knees threatened to buckle. It was amazing to him that this man his boss of all people could make him feel this way with just a look.
"Paella. Picked up the original recipe from a friend of the family. I've modified it some so I'm not sure what to call it anymore," Gibbs answered truthfully as he continued to work.
Once the cheese mixture was ready, he placed the shrimp on top of the rice mixture, covered the entire top with the cheeses and placed the uncovered pan in the oven, under the broiler. He left the oven door ajar as he turned and began to set the table.
Tony watched Gibbs with interest, noting how much more relaxed the man was outside of work. He watched as the other man moved around the kitchen, setting the plates and utensils on the table and then cleaning up the small mess made while he had prepared their food. Tony noticed Gibbs peeking discretely into the oven every few minutes as he worked.
"All finished," Gibbs announced just as Tony upended his bottle of beer. As Gibbs pulled the cast iron pan from the oven using heavy insulated mitts, he nodded toward the refrigerator. "Grab another couple of brews, Tony and the butter."
Gibbs set the pan on the hot pad in the center of the table then pulled a serving spoon from a drawer. Flourishing the spoon, he invited Tony to take a seat before serving him a heaping spoonful of the dish.
"Help yourself to the bread, Tony," Jethro said as he slid into his seat and grabbed a slice of bread.
Tony took a bite of the steaming paella, groaning as the spicy flavors exploded on his tongue. "Oh my god. Jethro, this is amazing!"
Jethro released the breath he hadn't realized he was holding. "Glad you like it."
The two men continued to eat. Suddenly Tony spoke, breaking the comfortable silence. "Jethro? Can I ask a question?"
Gibbs looked up and frowned at the serious tone. "Sure, Tony. Ask away."
"Well, I noticed that you have a bunch of different imported beers in your refrigerator as well as a few select microbrews."
"Yeah?" Gibbs nodded as he continued to eat.
"Well, I also noticed something that seemed out of place with the rest of the beer, that is."
Gibbs put his fork down and wiped his lips on his napkin, unsure where this was leading. He picked up his beer and took a drink. "Spill, Tony. What's so out of place?"
"Well there is one lone six pack of Budweiser in there and seeing the rest of your collection, I can't see you drinking the Bud."
Jethro grinned as he picked up his fork again. "I don't drink Budweiser, Tony." He took a bite of the paella, letting Tony think about that for a moment.
"Then why is it in there?" the younger man asked.
"The Bud's for making meatballs."
"Meatballs?" Tony asked, perplexed.
"Meatballs, Tony but that's not until the second date."
Tony nearly choked on the food in his mouth. "Second date?"
"You didn't think I was letting you loose after just one date, did you, Tony?" Jethro asked seriously.
Tony blushed. "I was hoping not."
"Good," Jethro said as he picked up his beer again, watching Tony as he tipped the bottle to let the liquid slide down his throat.
Tony watched the muscles in Jethro's throat work and nearly missed his mouth with the forkful of food he was lifting. He decided then and there that first dates were wonderful things
A/N: This is a real recipe and, yes, I make it in a cast iron frying pan. I just love one pot meals.