This is one of those recipes that I make so often that I forget it’s a recipe at all. We make it a lot. Like once a week for months and then have to decide to take a break from it. Ben learned it from, you guessed it, an Italian roommate and then I watched him make it so many times that I started making it. It’s about the least sophisticated thing you can imagine, which is why it’s so great. It’s a bowl of soft, cheesy goodness that’s perfect on a chilly weekday evening when you need an autopilot dinner. I wish I could say omit the bacon if you want it to be vegetarian but I can’t. If you feel like going meatless, make something else. The bacon is critical here as there are so few ingredients.
We made it one night last week and I thought, “Why have I been holding out on SPC?” Apologies. Okay, as if you need one more reason to try this: it makes a whack of food. As in dinner for four and then a full on second leftover meal for four.
Esme has decided she doesn’t like the other ingredient, zucchini. This puts a serious spanner in the works for me. She’ll get over it, right? While I wait for her to come around, will you share your auto pilot dinners with me?
photos by Maya Visnyei
Italian Roommate Pasta
serves 4 twice (one dinner and full leftover lunch or dinner)
4 medium zucchini, julienned
1 glug of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup bacon, chopped into 1 to 2 inch pieces
1 500 gram package of whole wheat pasta
1 cup Parmesan, grated
pepper to taste
In a good sized pan, warm up your olive oil and add onions, garlic and bacon. Allow it all to sizzle away for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the bacon is starting to crisp up.
While that’s happening, put a big pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta and chop up your zucchini into matchsticks. You want them quite narrow.
Toss those veggies into the pan with the bacon and onion mixture. Give it all a good stir so that the zucchini gets well coated. Allow it to cook down for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to turn over the vegetables. Some of the zucchini will start to disintegrate and that’s what you’re after, for some of it to be mushy and some to still be whole.
Once the water is boiling, cook your pasta according to the package instructions. We like this pasta with rotini, penne or fusilli – I really wouldn’t make it with long pasta. Drain it well and throw the cooked noodles into the vegetables and give it all a good stir.
In a small bowl, whisk up the eggs and stir in the grated parmesan. Pour the cheesy eggs into your noodles and mix well. Cook over medium heat until the sauce just sets. The whole thing will go from wet to gooey in just a few minutes.