Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"BLT Pasta" for Cook the Books; Sustenance and Desire

This month we were assigned Sustenance & Desire ; A Food Lover's Anthology of Sensuality and Humor.  This book was chosen by Rachel of The Crispy Cook. I had never heard of this book that has no author, or many authors...I guess and features the beautiful and mouthwatering artwork of Bascove.  It is a compilation of excerpts about food.  It was a perfect choice for this busy season when none of us has the time to sit down with a novel.  This book was a cook's dream....I am sure that all of you, like me, devour books about cooking, food, wine, techniques, recipes, chefs and cuisines of all cultures.  Otherwise, why would you bother joining a club called Cook the Books?


So, I thought this month's selection was perfect.  There were so many different recipes/themes/ideas from which to choose.

I should also mention that there were so many different recipes/themes/ideas NOT to choose. Like the entire canibal section, UGH!  I kept hearing Hannibal Lector in "Silence of the Lambs" making that terrible slurping sound when on the phone....oooohhhhh, I sitll can't get it out of my head except for when the recording of Timothy was rattling around in there..

It is very true that food gives sustenance and projects desire.  Our whole lives revolve around food. We are comforted by our mother's breast and food continues to comfort us throughout life.  We sit around the family table and learn manners and socialization and we continue to socialize with food, having dinner parties, business lunches, meeting with friends, having romantic rendezvous.  We equate food with love and lust.  We even use foods to enhance our love life and bestow upon them aphrodesiacal qualities.

Several different items caught my attention and made me think about creating a dish including cookies, pies, figs and artichokes.  But this excerpt by George Bradley, kept calling my the decision was made.

"The thing about dried pasta is, it waits until you want it and provides a plan where one was lacking,  Nothing but a can of beets left in the house?  Then improvise an onion and a touch of cream, and if you've got farfalle you've got "Pink Bow Ties."  (No cream at all?  It's "Bloody Butterflies.")  Left-over anchovies and just a whiff of garlic is the best that you can do?  Tossing them with olive oil creates a classic, if you have fusilli, too. Dried pasta's how a cook accommodates the facts.  No artist makes much out of his dreams but makes the most of what there is."

This resonated with me because pasta is my "go to" when I don't know what else to make for dinner and/or the cupboards are bare.  Heck when my children were young there was many a night that dinner was noodles in butter and they were as happy as could be with that.  Pasta is the perfect canvas for whatever you have on hand and so with this excerpt in mind and no idea what I should make for dinner, I opened the pantry and fridge and Voila!!!  Dinner is served.

Now, in keeping with my goal to use one of my cookbooks each day that I cook, I browsed through a Cookbook from Food & Wine called simply "Pasta".

In keeping with the theme of my post, I looked at the recipe for "BLT" Pasta, and then completely changed it to fit what I had in my pantry and refrigerator.  So both recipes use bacon and cherry tomatoes.  Everything else is different but similar.  Rotini instead of Fusilli.  Spinach instead of Arugula.  Some dipping oil I got for Christmas instead of butter and olive oil.  Pecorino/Romano instead of Parmesan. 

But that is exactly what George Bradley was trying to convey when he wrote the piece that was shared by Sustenance and Desire and then by me.  

I hope that you enjoy this pasta or whatever you decide to create with whatever dried pasta you have on hand and combine with your pantry and refrigerator the next time you are standing in front of it wondering what in the heck you are going to serve for dinner.

"BLT" Pasta
kinda adapted from Pasta by Food & Wine

3/4 lb. Rotini (or whatever pasta you have on hand)
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 lb. bacon, diced
1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper to taste
1 pkg. organic baby spinach leaves
2 T. flavored dipping oil or olive oil mixed with 1 t. Italian Herbs
Grated Parmesan Cheese for sprinkling (I used pecorino/romano)

Cook the pasta acoording to package directions.  While pasta is boiling, cook bacon in large skillet over med high heat until crisp.  Remove to a plate lined with papertowel.  Pour off all but 1 T. of the bacon grease.  

Return pan to burner over med high heat, add onions to pan and cook until tender, stirring  to loosen any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook until slightly softened. Add the spinach and toss until wilted.

Drain the pasta and immediately toss it with the vegetables.  Add the dipping oil and toss to coat. Serve with the grated cheese.  Print Recipe

I am sharing this recipe at Simple Supper Tuesday because what is simpler than boiling up pasta and throwing other stuff in with it??


  1. Looks delicious, Wendy! Can't go wrong with a BLT!

  2. I loved that pasta piece, too. But, in the end, I went with braised duck with vanilla bean sauce, inspired by "Creation Story." Can't wait to read the next book.

    1. That sounds lovely Cam. I always look forward to the club selections.

  3. BLT + Pasta = Brilliant. And why haven't I made this before. Glad you enjoyed our Cook the Books pick this round. So many good bits of poetry and prose to inspire us.

  4. Pasta is our "go-to" as well. I loved this book and I think it will be our most diverse round-up. I bet no one is inspired by the same selection.

  5. I can totally relate to standing in front of the refrigerator and wondering what in the heck I'm going to fix for dinner. Luckily, there's always PASTA!! I liked your spontaneous creation from what was on hand.

  6. I loved that excerpt by George Bradley too. A box of dried pasta and the pantry or fridge is truly a blank canvas for improvisation. This looks like one wonderful bowl of pasta full of wonderful ingredients. ;-) Great inspiration!

  7. Perfect realization of the poem: pasta with what was in your pantry. Nice!


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