When I told someone about this dish, they said, “Oh, you are making Pasta Carbonara.” Well maybe, but the person who gave me the recipe called it Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks. Not sure it matters, but I am all for honesty and full disclosure. Really.
This dish was pretty tasty. Since I did not know what pancetta was, I substituted Oscar Meyer bacon. I’m a bacon Ninja, and I figure using bacon almost guarantees some level of success. If all else fails, you can pick the bacon bits out of the dish and all will be well.
I would like to know though, what exactly is pancetta? Yes, of course I could Google it, but you can tell me what it tastes like and where one might find it. The local Jewel was fresh out or maybe I was looking in all the wrong places.
Below are the details of how I made this dish. We will make a great team. I have cooking questions and you have cooking answers, right?
Step one: Use any pasta I had in my pantry. First question, does everyone have pasta in their pantry? I didn’t. So now I was faced with choosing between 300 hundred different kinds of grocery store pasta. I decided on bowtie pasta. It just seemed to make more of an effort than the other pastas.
Step two: Boil 12 oz package of bowtie pasta until al dente. Whenever I see the words “al dente,” it makes me think of little pastas all running around naked. Why? I’m not sure, it just does.
Step three: Prepare leeks. Grab some leeks, and cut of the ends. Start cutting at the point where the green starts getting dark and looking tough, decapitate the tops, peel off the outer layer, and slice up the leeks thinly. Leeks are a violent vegetable to prepare. I found myself apologizing every step of the way.
Step four: Next, I was supposed to fry up the pancetta, but as we already discussed, I used Oscar Meyer Bacon. As always, my bacon was cooked to perfection and should have won an award for “most perfectly cooked bacon the world has ever seen.”
Step five: I introduced the leeks to the bacon and they sautéed together until the leeks softened. Next I added a lot of butter. My brother-in-law, Mr. Gourmand, says you can never use too much butter. I believe him. The bacon, leeks, and butter hung out together happily for about 8-10 minutes.
Step six: Pour in a little wine. I used Pinot Grigio wine, because someone told me if I did, I would be like Ramona on Real Housewives. Is that a good thing? I have never seen the show.
Step seven: Pour in a little heavy cream. What measurement does “a little” translate into? I guessed and used 1/2 cup. If I am elected president, I will add an amendment to the constitution that reads “No recipe shall ever use the words small, little, pinch, smidgen, bit, handful or simmer.”
Step eight: Turn off the heat. Introduce the cooked bowtie pasta to the bacon, leeks, butter, Pinot Grigio, and heavy cream. Add Parmesan cheese. I was supposed to shave several pieces off a block of Parmesan but Cole spent our cheese money on bleu cheese this month, so canned Kraft 100 Percent Parmesan Cheese had to be fine enough. It was, after all,100 percent grated Parmesan with no fillers.
And finally … I called Cole to dinner, we sat down, and offered a prayer of thanks. Cole is always very, very thankful when I cook. I love that about him. We picked up our forks and bravely took a bite, looked at each other and smiled. It was good. It was really was very good.
Now it’s your turn. What would you do differently? What tips do you have for us? What should we try next? If you think you can trust me, send me one of your favorite recipes to try out on Odd! The kitchen is still the last place on Earth I want to be, but it’s certainly more fun with you for company!!
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