One of the joys of moving out of London was the ability to think about food a bit more. Farmer’s market’s and farm shops are easy to come by here. I have a burgeoning, if somewhat weed-ridden vegetable plot. Best of all, we could put some of the equity for the house sale into a kick-ass kitchen where I could play.
I’m pleased with my increased ability to be able to cook in the evenings, as opposed to heating stuff out of packets, and chuffed with the fact that we haven’t eaten packet salad or bagged spuds all summer.
I feel the need to post recipies every once in a while, for those occasions when I cook up something worth repeating. First up, a quick weekday meal for those uninspiring evenings. All quantities I’ll be writing about serve two, as that’s who I’m cooking for.
I call this one “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Carbonara.”

Gently fry a small red onion (or, if yours are anything like my pathetic specimens, two) along with a big handful of chopped mushrooms (the skankier the better. The ones I used last night had been in the back of the fridge, and had half-fused, half-frozen into a mycelious tangle. They taste better just before they go off completely, you know) until golden. About five minutes, in a splash of oil. Grind over some black pepper. No salt yet.
While that’s burbling away, chop up two rashers per person of bacon. Try and use dry-cure thick-cut stuff. Tesco Value bacon won’t cut it here once it starts wheezing flabby white jizz over everything. Pancetta if you must. I wish I had your budget.
Once the contents of the pan look nicely golden, throw the bacon in, and let that fry down, again for about five mins.
Once the bacon’s going, put some water onto boil for pasta. I like this with something tubular like penne or rigatone, but certainly go for the spaghetti/tagliatelle vibe if you’d rather.
Once the pasta goes in, the bacon should be done, and the bottom of the pan should be nicely encrusted with sticky flavoursomeness. If you’ve got a bottle of wine open, throw a little of that in and scrape lustily, boiling it down until you get a caramelly-coloured reduction, about half the volume you first added.
Now throw in some cream. A small pot of single or double, or a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche. Enough to lubricate. Take the heat down, and let that bubble gently for a couple of minutes, to thicken and mellow. It should go a nice golden colour. While it’s doing that, check the pasta, which should be ready. If not, it’ll only be a couple of minutes off.
Check your sauce for seasoning just before sloshing over the drained pasta. It might need a bit of salt, depending on the bacon. Lots of fresh parmesan over the top. Maybe a scatter of parsley, if you’ve got any fresh to hand.
If you’re organised, this can be on the table twenty minutes after you pick a knife up. Best enjoyed with a glass of chilled white wine, probably a Sauvignon Blanc to cut through the richness, in candlelight, with an appreciative companion.
Who said Wednesday nights had to be dull?

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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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