Friday, August 1, 2008

What's Fast and Easy?

Last night Kevin had something to do shortly after work. This meant we were left to our own devices for dinner. I was fascinated when I saw what each one of us concocted as a "quick and simple dinner" out of what was in the house.

Kevin ate ham, sliced way too thick, on day-old baguette with Swiss cheese and mustard. This was then supplemented (I'm sure) with some tapas while he was out.

I started out think I'd have pasta with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, basil, and chives. Then I though, "Why not sauté and onion and a little garlic." And here's where things started to get more complicated.

Remembering a red pepper in the fridge, so I through that in as well. While rummaging for the pepper I came across the amazing bacon from a market in Belgium. I sliced off a piece, diced it up, and cooked it along with onions, garlic, and pepper. At this point, I realized that I had some great flavor developing on the bottom of the pan, so I deglazed it with sherry, and then threw in a few ladles of the pasta water, turned down the heat, and reduced the liquid while the pasta finished.

Tossing the cooked and drained noodles into the sauce, I still felt like something was missing. If there were any eggs in the house I would have made it into pasta carbonara. Instead I need to think of some other way to give the sauce a little more body. My final moment of inspiration came when I added the last bit of goat cheese from Wednesday's salad.

Without forgetting my original intent, I threw in the herbs and garnished everything with some Parmesan.

It was a fantastic bowl of pasta. It only took as long to prepare as it takes to boil water and cook some noodles. Yet, I realized that there is a huge range in what can be considered a fast and easy meal.

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