stat counter

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pasta, Pancetta and Prepping

Tonight's supper was another recipe from the  Pollan Family Table: creamy spinach pasta alfredo with crispy pancetta.  Oh my-  it was very, very tasty! I  forgot to take a pic, but here's the recipe page from the cookbook.   Our supper looked almost just like   the picture.
The recipe called for  frozen chopped spinach but I have a "thing" about frozen spinach.  It  is chopped with stems and all and I much prefer to by fresh spinach and remove the stems.  With older spinach I also like to remove the   hard spine and even when  we buy baby spinach there  always seems to be a fair amount of older larger  leaves with  tough spines.  Stemming  the spinach takes longer  but in my opinion is well worth the effort. Blanching  the leaves, squeezing out the  moisture and chopping the spinach takes only a few minutes and to me just tastes better than frozen spinach.

I also much prefer to  grate my own Parmesan cheese and  nutmeg because they taste so much fresher and better to me. But one  time and work saver I did use tonight was  already  diced pancetta.  I saw it   last time we were in Publix and thought I'd try it.  I'm glad I did, it was excellent and seemed to brown much better and faster than  when  I've hacked at it myself in an attempt to dice it.  Did I tell you I am  hopeless with a knife?  It's one of those skills like  swimming or riding a bike  that I was never able to master despite the efforts of some very dedicated instructors.  The poor souls tried everything they knew to help me get past my clumsiness before finally throwing their hands up in desperation and giving up.  So I am a hacker with a knife rather than a slicer,  dicer, chopper or a mincer, and the pancetta was spared from a torturous end on my cutting board, thanks to Publix.

I used another trick to peel the garlic called for in the recipe:  put the cloves in a  jar ( I used a plastic smoothie  glass with a lid that came with my blender)  with a lid and shake vigorously.  The  skin falls off and  the garlic is peeled with little or no effort on your part and no garlic smell on your hands!  You're welcome! 

The dish came together  quite nicely.  It was quick, delicious, and   called for a minimal number of pots, pans and utensils. The latter alone is enough to elicit a five star rating from Mr. G., who has taken over  dish washing duties. He frequently mutters under his breath about how, based on the number of  dirty dishes confronting him,  anybody would think I was  cooking for an army instead of two people. He just doesn't  appreciate the concept of mis en place and all the extra  little bowls that hold the prepped ingredients. Tonight,  there were only three little bowls, one saucepan, one skillet, a spatula, wooden spoon, colander for draining both the spinach and pasta, two plates and  knives and forks. We were both happy and there was a minimum of muttering, thank goodness! 

No comments: