Monday, June 24, 2024

Saturday Supper

     Through this heat wave, Tamara and I have started having lighter suppers -- fruits and cheese, olives, maybe a little crusty bread.  It's tasty, easy, doesn't heat up the kitchen and is capable of great variation.

     Still, sometimes you want a change.  I had seen Alessi pasta and sauce mixes at the grocery, and purchased one to try for supper on Saturday, their Cacio E Pepe: noodles in cheese, seasoned with black pepper.  Not expensive, and when you open the bag, it's the familiar powdered sauce with dry noodles.  A couple of cups of water and four minutes on the stovetop or eight in the microwave -- I chose the latter -- and what you get will make you turn your back on mac & cheese.

     Of course, I customized it a little, crumbling in a couple of strips of cooked bacon; prepared "bacon bits," even the vegan kind, should work okay; it's just a grace note.  Or you could use pancetta, which can be purchased in tiny cubes.  I added a shake of parsley and some grated Parmesan (or "Italian mix") cheese when serving.  It was still quick and easy to make.  

     An interesting variation to try would be to stir in a well-beaten egg while the mix was piping hot (but off the burner), to make a kind of Carbonara.  You want enough heat to soft-poach the egg but not make it cross-link (harden).  It's tricky but not that tricky, and the end result would be quite a treat.

     The mix is as shelf-storable as the old familiar macaroni and cheese, but the taste and texture is a cut above.  (They're not paying me; it's good stuff, at a time when a lot of storable quick mixes aren't.)

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