Friday, June 02, 2006

Recipes for my brother (Easy linguini)

Remember those college days when a dorm meal of ramen noodles, cottage cheese and salsa represented the height of your creative cooking? Then you graduated to an apartment and started making pasta in earnest, with real noodles, and sauce in a jar, maybe some slightly plasticky parmesan to sprinkle over everything.

I remember. I ate that meal at least three times a week for several years, interspersed with music recital food (honestly gained by attending the recitals) and dinner at fancy Nashville restaurants (courtesy of my dating circuit). I can’t stand spaghetti noodles any more, but we still eat pasta, and I keep finding new sauce recipes that are so tasty they must be tried again.

Here’s one from last night, modified from an epicurious recipe to match what I could find on the walk home from work yesterday. Modified also for my brother, who has just embarked on apartment living. Happy cooking Bro!

Linguini (it is so much tastier than spaghetti after all)
Red onions, chopped into bits (3), garlic works too (6 cloves)
Olive oil
Pancetta or English bacon or regular bacon (as you wish, but at least 4 slices)
Red pepper flakes (two good shakes)
Sun dried tomatoes in oil, cut into bits. (1/2 cup)
Cherry tomatoes halved or larger vine tomatoes, chopped (2 cups of cherry or 3 tomatoes)
Parmesan or Romano or Pecorino, grated (2 cups)
Salt to taste

Follow instructions on packet for linguini. Test when near done to keep that al dente taste. Don’t bother throwing pasta on the wall to test it, your teeth are much smarter than the wall. When done, pour into collander to drain water, then return drained pasta to pot.

Mix oil from sun dried tomatoes with olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the frying pan. Heat on medium until hot, but not smoking. If it smokes, carefully throw oil away and start again. Add onion bits. Cook for longer than you think, until they are soft and nearly translucent. Add pancetta or bacon, saute (stir but not incessantly) for 4 minutes or until starting to crisp.
Add tomatoes of both sorts, saute for 4 minutes.

Pour frying pan contents into drained linguini. Stir together. Add most of cheese to pot, stir to coat the linguini. Salt to taste. Serve, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Consider adding basil if you’ve got it growing on your patio.

If you don’t have the red pepper flakes or dried tomatoes, no worries, it works anyway.

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