Friday night is pasta night chez Casa Rovai, and it’s not a long-simmered duck Bolognese or anything fancy. It’s pick-up pasta: What can two lazy people assemble in the least possible time with the fewest ingredients? Puttanesca, sure. I adore alla carbonara, but Luigi, with his dislike of pale food and eggs makes Carbonara a guilty pleasure for me at lunchtime. Tonight is was meant to be Aglio e olio, but heck we were out of aglio –garlic.
But we had a couple of slices of bacon, so it’s going to be Vermicelli all’amatriciana. Amatrice is a town in central Italy and the citizenry sure got a simple sauce right. The classic recipe asks for guanciole — smoked pork cheeks, but even the totemic Italian cookbook, The Silver Spoon, says that you can cheat with pancetta.
Which means that we Americanos can cheat with bacon. The ingredients are so primal and simple, and the result is so hotcha — a quick sauce from nothing but a couple of slices of bacon, some onions, tomatoes and hot pepper flakes. (We cook it up in the wok.) I’m going to throw in some basil from the garden and maybe some cheese on my serving: Luigi the Purist will scorn cheese because the recipe doesn’t call for it and it might be too much fun for his Toscani self. I don’t know why Tuscany has become the emblem for voluptuous life: Tuscans are the Scots of Italy — intellectual, canny and frugal. I digress.I am of Scots lineage, so maybe that’s part of the mutual attraction.
Everyone needs a few pasta dishes that can be made presto, fresh and fast. I don’t care that corn on the cob may not be the traditional accompaniment, I’m not wasting the Farmer’s Market fresh cobs . And there’s some cold chicken to slice up, and a tomato. Friday Night Lite, and fast.