by Lisa

The question usually goes something like this:

“What are we having for dinner?”

And the answer goes something like this:

a) “I don’t know yet.”

b) “Food.”

c) “(insert actual name of real dish I’m serving here)”

In other words: a) the lie, b) the evasion, c) the truth.

Option “C” ? It rarely goes well. Which would be one thing if the kids didn’t like to eat. But according to the laws of kid-dom, where they reside, they are obligated to pout and protest and suggest alternative meals…and then almost without exception sit down and eat without complaining. It drives me crazy.

However, I have found a stealth weapon and it is bacon. The other night when they asked the question, I was ready. “Pasta,” I said, then I paused, and added under my breath, “with bacon.” I waited for the backlash.

They cheered.

Technically, it was pancetta, but who’s keeping track? There was an egg involved, too, that I sort of left out of the description.  I did the evasion thing until the last moment when I poached it right there in front of them. I’m not such an expert at the poaching, but the kids love a runny yolk, and they found the process weird and satisfying.

As I was cooking, the two of them admitted that I could add bacon to anything and they would be happy. Really? I asked. “So if I say we’re having pasta?”


“Pasta with bacon?”




“Fish wrapped in bacon?”




“Tofu and bacon?”



“And bacon!”

“So I can add bacon to anything and you won’t complain?”

“Nope. I mean yup. Bacon!”

Pasta with Bacon and Eggs AKA Pasta with Pancetta, Parmesan, and Poached Egg

Serves 4

  • 3/4 pound small shell pasta
  • 4 slices pancetta, cut into small dice, or more, if my daughter is coming to your house
  • about 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan romano
  • Several large handfuls of pea greens or spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • olive oil
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Bring a smaller pot to boil for the eggs.
  2. While water is coming to a boil, sautee the pea greens &/or spinach in a large pan until tender. Separate into four bowls.
  3. In the same pan, sautee the pancetta in a few tablespoons of olive oil until crisp. Turn off heat and set aside.
  4. Refuse to stuff each individual shell with a piece of bacon/pancetta, per your daughter’s request.
  5. When small pot is boiling, turn it down to a low simmer. Crack each egg carefully into a ramekin or small bowl so it’s ready to poach.
  6. When the large pot boils, cook the pasta. When about 4 minutes are left to go on the pasta, make sure the water for the eggs is simmering, then pour in vinegar, turn off heat, give the water a swirl to make a whirlpool,and  one by one, carefully slip the eggs into the poaching liquid.
  7. Let the eggs sit and cook in the water for 3-4 minutes while you drain the pasta, then add the pasta to the pan with the pancetta.
  8. Add the cheese to the pasta and pancetta and toss to coat.
  9. Portion the pasta into 4 bowls, layering it over the greens.
  10. When the eggs are done, remove one by one with a slotted spoon, drain for a minute, and place them carefully on top of the pasta.