Would you like a little peek into how things work around here? I figured you would, so here goes.
I have a package of gorgeous chicken leg/thigh quarters sitting in my refrigerator right now. Remember the Chicken Cacciatore from yesterday? They were the star in that meal. I simply cut the pieces apart at the joint.
But I still have more and there aren’t any other recipes in the periodicals on my desk that use legs and thighs. So, I headed to my bookshelves, sat on the floor and began sifting through thousands of recipes in hundreds of magazines.
First, in case you’re curious, the floor is Molly’s domain (Molly is our cat, for those new to our conversations), so any time one of us drops down to her level, it warrants an immediate feline visit, which includes lots of rubbing (fur all over our clothes), head butting (smearing her ‘you are mine’ scent all over us) and the quintessential ‘talk to the butt’ pose, right in front of our faces (gross).
Still, I persevered. And, not surprisingly considering the wealth I had to choose from, I found the perfect recipe for those legs and thighs, a spicy curry. I almost stopped looking.
Luckily, before attempting to go from the floor to a standing position with some semblance of grace, I noticed the word ‘braised.’ Braising equals time, a whole lot more time than the hour or so I had in which to cook. Bummer.
So, I set that magazine aside and continued my search, eventually landing on the September 2012 Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine, which is an Italian issue and includes a ton of pasta dishes.
The bad news? Even though I found the meal for the evening, I lost my chicken recipe. Somehow, while I was putting all magazines I had pulled out back on the shelves, I tucked the one with the braised curry chicken recipe back in its spot as well. I have no idea which magazine it was in and upon which shelf it sits.
But I will find it.
If you’ve read through that narrative above, you already know that this recipe doesn’t take very long to make because I had less than an hour in which to pull together dinner.
As far as prep goes, it was easy. I chopped up a half pound of bacon and a large red onion. I also chopped a few garlic cloves, some thyme and a bunch of parsley. After grating a small pile of cheese, I was done and ready to cook.
I did not use perciatelli, bucatini or pici pasta. That’s plain old spaghetti that you see up there. When all’s said and done, spaghetti is spaghetti is spaghetti. This worked for us (and meant I didn’t have to make a run to the grocery store).
I also chose not to use cherry tomatoes, but instead opened a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, using a slotted spoon to remove them from their juices. I did that because Dudette and Hubby aren’t fans of cooked tomatoes anyway and making them navigate around the tomato skins, no matter how thin, would have been a death knell for dinner.
I started the pasta cooking at the same time that I began prep, which was too early. I suggest getting the water boiling, but adding the pasta to it once the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and pepper are added to the bacon in the skillet.
Once again, this was a qualified success. Hubby really liked it and ate all the tomatoes on his plate. In fact, it’s in his lunch today and I had expected that I’d be the one eating the leftovers. I enjoyed this as well. The bacon, tomatoes, thyme and garlic work very well together. The recipe says to add ‘lots of pepper,’ and it’s not kidding. I put in a half teaspoon of it and could have added more. I used a light touch because of Dudette, but there was very little heat with the amount I used.
Dudette is the qualified part. She said she wasn’t fond of this, but again, she had two bowls of it. I did try to make sure that she didn’t get any tomato chunks, but the fact that they had even come in contact with her pasta tainted her feelings toward the dish, as you can see.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
Not a thing.
- salt and pepper
- 1 pound perciatelli, bucatini or pica pasta
- ¼ cup EVOO
- ⅓ pound smoky bacon, chopped
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- mixed freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano and pecorino-romano, for tossing
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
- While the pasta is working, In a deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat the EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and bay leaf, partially cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and lots of pepper. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomatoes burst, about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and mash up the tomatoes a bit with a potato masher. Stir in the parsley; discard the bay leaf.
- Toss the pasta with the sauce and mixed cheeses. Add the pasta water as necessary to combine. Serve in shallow bowls.
Yes, there’s a good chance that I’ll be spending a good part of the morning on the floor looking at cat butt again, but I think it’ll be worth it. You’ve had those times when you know you’ve seen a recipe and tucked it away. Then you really want to make it but you can’t remember where you put it. You’ve done that, right? Please tell me I’m not crazy with this.