Here we are, edging towards Christmas, December whipping by in dutiful fashion, all of the hopes and freshness 2021 will surely bring rising like a sweet beacon on the horizon. Holy hell, this crazy year is almost over, gang!
I am on day one of four of my final days of quiet, before the 2.5 week Christmas break from school is upon us. Then my days will be filled with entertaining the little emperor with puppet shows and LEGO building and pretending I know how to make crafts, so really, the fact that I’m taking time to reach out to you fine people on one of my last days of freedom just shows the depths of my love.
We are fattening up for the holidays over here, and all rules and regulations have been kindly asked to take a hike, so my recipes won’t be of the Good For You variety until at least January when the guilt sets in. Also, guilt doesn’t last long in this body of mine, so try not to blink. Since we’re a tiny Christmas of three (five if you count dog and cat. Yes, cat. I caved), our annual giant turkey dinner will not be happening, because who cooks a turkey for three (five?) beings? Charlie has it in his mind that he’s going to go “hunting” and find us a “duck”, but while waiting for hell to freeze over, I’ll be on the hunt for gluttonous and celebratory dinner options to commemorate Christmas 2020. Carbs and cheese and fat, specifically. So share your favourites. Who needs actual pants? No one, that’s who!
Sometimes in my stumbling through the pantry, trying to figure out a dinner on the fly with the ingredients we’ve got, I end up with a real gem. This pasta is my own take on amatriciana basically, but since the Italians like to bite my head off in my DMs on Instagram, just to be safe, I’m going to refer to this simply as Bacon Pasta. Okay, my Italian friends? Just a made up yummy thing. Not at all authentic. Everything is fine.
You can of course go traditional and use pancetta instead of bacon in this recipe. It’s just that our market out here in the sticks never has any, so I broke out the thick cut smoked bacon instead and I ended up loving it even more? I use egg fettuccine here as well, since that’s what we had, and the delicious butteriness it gave the dish really took things to the next level. I highly recommend some homemade garlic bread on the side for mopping up bacon-y sauce, and maybe a simple green salad so your doctors don’t also slide into my DMs.
1 lb egg fettuccine
6 slices thick cut bacon
1 14 oz can plum tomatoes
1 red onion, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sugar
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated (don’t buy that powdered stuff, you can taste the difference, trust me)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the fettuccine according to package directions. Reserve a cup of the cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Chop the bacon into one inch pieces and add to the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes until browned, then add the garlic and onion and reduce the heat to medium. Sautee everything for 5 minutes. Add the plum tomatoes and break them up into large chunks with a wooden spoon as you stir. Add the sugar, red pepper flakes, and some salt and pepper to taste.
Add a ladle full of the reserved pasta water to loosen up the sauce a bit. Stir in the cooked pasta and toss everything around. Turn the heat off and sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Sprinkle with half of the chopped basil.
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, the remaining basil, some salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Divide the pasta into dishes and scoop a spoonful of the ricotta mixture on top. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil to finish. EASY and SO GOOD!