A little over ten years ago (time flies) I was invited with my future first ex-husband to a friend’s house to have spaghetti. It was crunchy. Undercooked. And while it had good flavor—spaghetti and sauce married to perfection…almost—I couldn’t help joking (rather harshly in retrospect) that I almost broke a tooth on the very al dente spaghetti.
Stupid comments like that have a way of coming back to haunt me. In a bad way.
Yesterday I made lasagna. After it had cooled down a bit I cut a little piece off to taste—you know those bumpy places where the cheese has risen up and been grilled in the oven, those really tempting, tasty morsels—one of those. Big mistake. I bit down into what I thought was some grilled cheesy goodness and CRACK. I broke a molar. On a fucking piece of pasta that had risen up and been grilled along with the cheese it was hiding in.
Lesson learned: Never laugh at anyone’s pasta.
Fortunately I was able to find a dentist who was able to fix me up, temporarily at least because in the state I’m in anesthetics are out of the question, and I’m back in business with only a small hole in my cheek from the now super-sharp edge of my fractured tooth. I can deal with that—at least I’m no longer in pain.
And not being in pain inspired me to get creative in the kitchen. Et voilà, today’s creation:
You’re wondering what it is. Sorry, a food photographer I am not. What it is is a very quick, very easy, and wow!-I-was-blown-away-by-how-surprisingly-tasty pasta dish. Fifteen minutes, and this yummy baby is on your table. Here’s how.
Fill a pot with salted water and bring it to a boil (this is for the orecchiette, or ear-shaped pasta). While it’s heating up, cut ten slices of pancetta into thin strips. Cut a head of broccoli into little florets. When the water is boiling, dump in two cups uncooked orecchiette. In a frying pan, brown off the pancetta. When it’s just crispy around the edge, dump in the broccoli and (this is the secret part that makes it all come together) about half a cup of liquid from the pasta pot. Let the broccoli steam for about three minutes or until it’s done to your liking. Drain your cooked pasta, toss with the pancetta and broccoli (along with the rest of the liquid) and two or three tablespoons of grated hard Italain cheese (I used parmesan regiano). And wow. Simple, fast, and DEE lish! (And no broken teeth!)