Fridge Dinner

I leave tomorrow morning for Madrid for my program orientation so I haven’t bought much food this week, and since I was gone all weekend, there isn’t a whole lot left.  There’s still a little risotto left from yesterday, but I had that for lunch, so that wasn’t looking too appetizing either.  I had some pancetta, three (large) mushrooms, a few eggs, and some linguini.  Ergo–Fridge Pasta!  

Welcome to my tiny kitchen.  By European standards, it’s actually not that small, and it’s definitely very functional.  The oven even works now!  (One of my roommates has lived here for 8 years, and the oven was broken when she moved in.  But I complained :D)

Basically, this dinner is a variation on spaghetti alla carbonara, plus some mushrooms and minus the cheese.  I would have put cheese, but I forgot my microplane at David’s apartment this weekend (and stole his keys…whoops!  I mailed them back and his roommates like him enough to help him get into the apartment, so it all worked out ok).  So, first we cook the pancetta.  This was the only kind I could find at Gadis (supermarket), and it’s conveniently pre-diced, so all I had to do was peel back the corner and shake some into the pan.  

I really missed bacon as this was cooking; the two products are very similar, but they just don’t smell the same.  Tasted great, though.  I like mine to be pretty crispy, but be sure to watch it so it doesn’t burn.  Burnt bacon, or pancetta, just makes everyone sad.

Side note: isn’t the little blue pot on the stove just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?  I love its little shape!

While the pancetta cooks, I roughly chopped the mushrooms, and then threw them into the rendered pancetta fat with a little extra olive oil (pancetta=seemingly less fatty than bacon.  Or maybe I just usually cook more of it).  I also boiled water for pasta, and then cooked said pasta, while the other things were browning and becoming beautiful.  Don’t forget to salt the water!  It’s the best way of seasoning the pasta itself.  When I worked in the Central Market Cooking School, I was taught that the water should be as salty as the sea, which means more salt than most people put in their pasta water.





Look at that magical transformation.  I love mushrooms.  Also, sorry my pictures are terrible.  My kitchen has one dim and ugly florescent lightbulb.  There is very little I can do about it.

The final element of my dinner was a poached egg.  I fell in love with these cute little Poach Pods at a cooking store in Atlanta, and while they’re not strictly necessary, I’ve always had a bit of trouble poaching eggs, and also they’re adorable so why not.

So to recap: crisp up some pancetta (or bacon), brown mushrooms in resulting fat, poach egg, and put everything over pasta.  Top with freshly ground black pepper.  And you end up with dinner!

This was so delicious.  I highly, highly recommend it, or any variation on it, if you don’t know what to make for dinner.  Sub in whatever vegetable you have on hand!  It’d be great with zucchini, or broccoli, or a whole host of other delicious things.  Let me know how you like it!

Last note:  I will not always be posting this frequently.  I start classes next week (finally!), and will hopefully continue the difficult process of making friends so that I will have less time for you lovely people, and have more of a life.  (With no easy place to meet people who I have anything in common with, it’s been a bit of a slow process.  Here’s hoping it picks up!)  But for now, I hope you enjoy my ramblings, and I promise to try and update fairly regularly, even if I can’t keep up this one-or-two-posts-a-day rhythm.


2 thoughts on “Fridge Dinner

  1. I want mushroom risotto AND the pasta! The pictures are actually turning out well from my point of view. Hope orientation goes splendidly, and perhaps you’ll make some more friends there as well. I am THRILLED the oven got fixed, good for you being vocal and persistent. I will send you that broccoli stem idea and the Paris book table of contents very soon…besitos, Mamita

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