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.”
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.
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?”
“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
- 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
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Bring a smaller pot to boil for the eggs.
- While water is coming to a boil, sautee the pea greens &/or spinach in a large pan until tender. Separate into four bowls.
- In the same pan, sautee the pancetta in a few tablespoons of olive oil until crisp. Turn off heat and set aside.
- Refuse to stuff each individual shell with a piece of bacon/pancetta, per your daughter’s request.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the cheese to the pasta and pancetta and toss to coat.
- Portion the pasta into 4 bowls, layering it over the greens.
- 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.