“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?
In 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’?
What 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.
This 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!
Make Do Bacon Pepper Pasta
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.