Gadgets, Gizmos, and Bacon Pepper Pasta

lasagna noodles with bacon and peppers

“I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty
I’ve got who’s-its and what’s-its galore
You want thing-a-mabobs?
I’ve got twenty”

Yep, I’m quoting the Little Mermaid.  It’s that bad. We have boxes stacked in every corner, bubble wrap strewn across the floors, and today I had to reopen a box because I realized that I’d packed away the checkbook. 

When did I amass so much stuff?

kitcher utensilsIn packing up my kitchen for storage, I have discovered dozens of gadgets and gizmos.  We are moving to a furnished sublet complete with basic kitchen gear – pots, pans, knives etc. Last night, surrounded by melon ballers and cheese graters and meat thermometers and citrus zesters, I realized the only thing in my kitchen that I really need to bring with me is a single cast iron skillet. That’s it.  That’s all I need for sauteing or baking or, well, just about anything.  And as for the rest… I’ll make do. So what if my melon bits are not round? or if my lemons go unzested? And for that matter, I think I can manage a few months without a waffle iron or ice cream maker.  And for crying out loud, why on earth do we have something called a ‘quesadilla maker’?

lasagna noodles with bacon and peppersWhat happened to me?  I used to be the queen of making do!  I’m the girl who lived in a tiny NY apartment and baked cupcakes for 200 in a toaster-oven. I owned exactly three forks, two wine glasses, and one single fantastic French knife.  And tonight, when I made dinner with a handful of lingering ingredients and not a single gadget, I felt a bit like my old self. 

pastaThis dish came together out of nothing.  Our cupboards are bare, but we had some leftover bacon hiding in the back of the freezer, and a few lasagna noodles all alone in the pantry.  And with that, we had dinner.  A pretty awesome dinner, actually.  I was surprised to find that I loved the sliced lasagna noodles.  They had awesome texture, and were a perfect foil for the rich sauce.  The bits of noodle matched the bits of pepper and much to my surprise, the whole thing just worked. Of course, you could sub in any short pasta you like here, if hacking apart noodles is not your thing.  I think farfalle would work very well.

I’m excited for a few months of making do ahead of me.  But for the next week or two I won’t be spending much time in the kitchen.  Once we get settled in the new place, I promise I’ll be back!

creamy noodles with bacon and cubanelle

Make Do Bacon Pepper Pasta

Serves 2

4 strips bacon, chopped

4 ounces lasagna noodles (about 5 noodles)

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1 cup thinly sliced cubanelle pepper (about 1 small pepper)

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons cream

parmesan cheese for serving

In a large skillet, saute the bacon over medium heat until almost crisp, about 5-6 minutes.  Drain all but 2 teaspoons of bacon fat from the pan. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles until just al dente. Don’t overcook. Drain the noodles and reserve 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Add the onion and pepper to the bacon in the skillet and saute until the peppers are soft, about 8 minutes.  Meanwhile, slice the lasagna noodles into 1/2 inch strips. Add about 1/4 cup of pasta cooking liquid to the skillet, along with the red pepper flakes.  Stir in the cream. Add the sliced noodles to the pan and toss to combine.  Add more pasta cooking liquid if desired. Serve topped with parmesan cheese.

Published in: on August 25, 2010 at 5:52 pm  Comments (29)  
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29 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’ve not heard of cubanelle peppers. Are they similar to a red bell papper or closer to the poblano – any kick to them? The dish sounds delicious and now I know what to do with all those lasagne noodles I can’t seem to use up.

    I agree about the cast iron skillet. I also have a cast iron dutch oven that is pretty important to me – maybe because I know my grandmother used it. And I could never pack all my civil war era steel forks (yes I have several). They are small, sharp and strong. They are great for turning bacon and roasts and testing potatoes – and everything else. Oh, yes, I have one of those elegant French knives – not one of those clunky German chef’s knives. I might need a small box :-).

    • Norine – civil war era steel forks? Hmmm, a gadget I don’t have! A nd a Cubanelle pepper is considered a sweet pepper, but it does sometimes have a tiny bit of bite to it. It is a light green (rarely you can find red ones too), banana-shaped pepper with thinner flesh than a bell pepper. I think some people call them Italian frying peppers.

  2. Sounds outstanding… and good luck with the move

  3. This was funny! (the part about leaving your checkbook in the box!)
    I have a friend who adores kitchen gadgets, she last bought me a garlic chopper (I use a mortar I have had for 10 years); well, I am glad you are going to be back to your old self!
    I miss my kitchen gadgets, but what I miss most of all is my Cuisinart.

    • Oooh, no cuisinart with you in Lebanon? Well, I imagine that I will begin to feel the same after a few months without mine (yep, packed that up too). And I love the mortar and pestle for just about everything, so I may have to bring that with me!

  4. I’m laughing at a quesadilla maker! But not too hard, since I own two panini presses…

  5. I love the idea of sliced lasagna noodles! Way to go for being resourceful!

  6. I’m chuckling because you have the EXACT same measuring cups as I do. BOTH sets!! 🙂 Bacon makes everything wonderful!!

  7. Your make-do pasta sounds fabulous!
    PS. Now I have that song in my head – little mermaid is probably my ALL TIME FAVORITE Disney movie!!

  8. You had me at bacon, pepper and pasta! I actually have had the opposite experience…I had a fully stocked kitchen and then picked up and moved halfway across the world with a man who owned NOTHING. I’m working on restocking here in England and my Gent keeps asking “are you done buying things for the kitchen yet?” Ha. Haha.

    • Never! Always more kitchen stuff out there! How fun though, to start from scratch gadget-wise!

  9. So I figured I need to comment since the quesadilla maker is compliments of Rick and I!!!! Can’t wait to see you!

    • Um, you’re never going to believe this, but the quesadilla maker you gave up broke a year ago, and the new one was a gift from my parents!

  10. I do love my cast iron! Here’s for being resourceful and making do with what you have. Sometimes my best dishes are made from ingredients on hand that I need or want to use up. Your pasta looks delicious! (Love that bacon!)

  11. Hilarious! The pasta looks amazing!

  12. Lol, I used to love The Little Mermaid! 🙂 This dinner looks like a great use of what you had on hand — sometimes the best meals are born that way!

  13. I have The Little Mermaid in my head now hahaha. This pasta looks delicious, and I love that you sliced lasagna noodles. I’d probably swap out the bacon for some veggie alternative, but I’m sure if I made this for my boyfriend he’d swallow it whole!!

    • You know, I think that just some sun dried tomatoes would be great here – even better than veggie-bacon (which I don’t think would be so awesome in terms of texture with the noodles). The tomatoes would add great flavor to the whole thing… in fact, next time I may add some along with the bacon!

  14. Pasta looks great! I agree with you on all of the gadgets. I used to live in a studio in Boston (less than 400 square feet!), and there was ONE drawer in the kitchen. Now I have 5 drawers filled with kitchen gadgets!

  15. I have plenty of thing-a-mabobs myself. lol The pasta sounds delicious. How can you go wrong with bacon and cream in a pasta sauce.

  16. When we go to the Oregon coast for a month every summer I never know just what’s going to be in the kitchen in our little rental, so we bring our cast iron skillet, my favorite Dutch oven and a couple of utensils, my favorite knife and we’re set – kind of like camping out. It’s amazing what one can whip up with so little “fluff”.

  17. great meal, I love tossing together any little bits or pieces and being super happy it taste great!! good luck with your move, I also have TONS of useless gadgets..

  18. Love The Little Mermaid. Quote it anytime! And make pasta with bacon anytime too. Having gadgets in a big kitchen can seem fun, but if you’re in a cramped space, it’s overwhelming. 🙂

  19. I always buy so many things for the kitchen and forget I have them.

    The pasta looks delicious, simple and fresh!

    Clever idea w/ the noodles. 🙂

  20. … and I am so with you! I insisted on having one of those Gourmet Whip things (using little gas cylinders) to make foams… and I have used it twice! Like you, I managed to cook perfectly well with the minimum of utensils. Good luck with the move!

  21. Haha–I love that Little Mermaid song. =) I agree about the one necessity being a cast iron skillet.

  22. I just got some fresh pasta from a speciality store, and they do the same thing that you did: cut the ‘lasagna’ sheets into tagliarini, linguine, angel hair, papaderelli, or spaghetti…
    Your dish sounds very good, and easy to make too.

  23. I wish I’d had this dish when we moved and were remodeling our kitchen. Simple and satisfying.

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