For years, we served our ‘big’ meal at supper. We had no choice, what with our family of six going their separate ways every morning. But in the evening, when we’d reunite around the supper table, I promised myself that one day our ‘big’ meal would become lunch, just like at Granny’s house.
That promised “one day” is often my everyday reality now, what with children living elsewhere and my husband telecommuting from the smallish former servant’s quarters out back. So yesterday allowed me to make good on that old promise, even though this pasta dish I served for lunch wasn’t a ‘big’ meal production.
This recipe is my own, as much as any recipe can be. I adapted it from one found on the internet, during an in-between phase when I had time on my hands. The space didn’t last long; what opened up shortly after I entered early retirement — after I’d lost that long-held identity of international tax consultant by day — closed by the time I’d been found by organizations hungry for volunteers. It was a rare six month interlude of time to play and read and pray and cook and anticpate next steps while remembering my past with gratitude.
I’ve always loved pasta, ever since a young girl. I was lucky to have a mother who made her own home-made marina and meatballs, what in child’s English, I called her spaghetti and light bulbs. By the time I lived through my twenties, I had discovered other pastas to love; I recall my first tortellini covered with a white cream sauce, that I happened onto while working at Arthur Andersen’s training headquarters near Chicago, where I wrote training curriculum for “the firm’s” tax staff.
But the best variety of pasta dishes I ever ran into came from Café Annice, a little upscale restaurant in downtown Lake Jackson. My search for a different pasta sauce (that evolved in today’s shared recipe) was somewhat inspired by all the home-grown recipes created by the restaurant’s owner; Janel’s pasta dishes are wonderful, on par with any served at the finest restaurants in Houston. And though this recipe is not like any pasta I’ve ever tasted at one of Janel’s tables — its uncommon taste and common style reminds me of those she served — in the same way that our common first name is spelled uncommonly differently.
From this Janell’s life to yours.
Creamy Tomato-Bacon Fettucine
Serves 2 – 3; Preparation Time: 30 Mins
8 oz dried fettucine, cooked al dente in salted water (follow package directions)Sauce: 5 slices of bacon fried crisp, then crumbled 1/2 cup of diced onion, sauted in 2 Tbsp olive oil 2 to 3 minced garlic cloves 14.5 oz can of petite chopped tomatoes 1/2 to 3/4 cup of hot pasta water 1/2 cup half & half 1/4 cup whipping cream 1 cup freshly grated parmesan 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper Add salt to taste, just before serving (using salted water, I rarely add salt)
Directions: In a large pasta pot, put water onto boil. The rest of the recipe is prepared in the time it takes water to boil and cook pasta. In a skillet over medium heat, fry bacon crisp. Drain on paper towels and then crumble. Drain bacon fat. Add olive oil and saute onion over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally; when onion is soft, add garlic cloves and cook for 2 minutes; then add tomatoes, cook for ten minutes until tomato juice cooks down. Do not let vegetables cook dry. Add 1/2 cup pasta water from the boiling pot of water . Then set sauce aside until pasta is done.
Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. To the vegetables in skillet, stir in half & half and heat over medium-low heat; then quickly add hot pasta, whipping cream, pepper and parmesan. Combine all ingredients with fork and spoon (like a light tossing of salad) until pasta is evenly coated with sauce. Thin with additional salted pasta water until you achieve desired level of creaminess.