Let the comfort of carbs carry you across the finish line.
Illustration by Rodney Lambright II.
The semester just ended and it was stressful as hell. If you are a student, educator, administrator, or the parent or partner of a student, educator or administrator, congratulations, you survived Zoom University/School 20-21!
It’s quite the feat. The last few weeks have been a blur and lacking in deep pleasure as I dragged myself across the finish line of this academic year. Mostly I’ve been leaning into the comfort of carbohydrates between the hours of exam writing and paper grading. I’ve been trying to strike a balance between pre-made meals and making fresh things from scratch. I don’t have a lot of patience for super-complicated or time-consuming cooking (as my recipes here might already reveal) so I like getting some prepared foods and adding my own fresh ingredients or flavors to make it my own. It just feels fancier that way. Pleasure practices are all about finding what gives you deep satisfaction whether that be an outdoor picnic, a nap in a hammock, or a meal that you lovingly prepared for yourself.
My newest obsession for leveling up my not-totally-from-scratch meals is getting fresh refrigerated pasta from Woodman’s or Willy Street Co-op (RP’s brand has gluten-free options too). Refrigerated fresh pasta is quick to cook and makes a major difference in the food experience I think. But actually making fresh pasta seems like more way work than I personally want to do and requires like equipment and shit I think (I don’t know, I didn’t Google it because I’m definitely not going to make my own pasta) so yeah, just buy it. Here’s a recipe that I’ve enjoyed recently.
Bombass Bacon and Spinach Pasta
3-5 slices of thick cut bacon
1 cup (or a generous handful) of baby spinach
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon salted butter
1 package of fresh pasta (linguine or fettuccine is best for this I think but you do you)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend of your choice
Grated Parmesan to taste (fresh if you’re feelin’ fancy!)
Salt to taste
If you aren’t good at multitasking: cook the pasta according to package directions first. Typically that means bringing a pot of salted water to a boil and tossing fresh pasta in for about three minutes then drain. Rinse with cool water to stop the pasta from continuing to cook. Set aside and then cook everything else.
If you are confident you won’t forget about your pasta or overcook it: do these other steps while your pot of water is heating up to a boil.
Heat a large skillet (I prefer cast iron) on medium-high. Chop your bacon into bite-sized pieces and drop it into the hot skillet. While the bacon cooks, chop your spinach (or rip up with your hands). Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, for two to three minutes or until crispy. Drain half of the bacon grease, leaving a good amount in the pan.
Drop the heat to medium and add the garlic and spinach. (Check on that boiling water and/or pasta. Don’t forget it!) Cook the spinach and garlic until the spinach is wilted. (Get that pasta ready!) Add your butter and Italian seasoning to the pan and cook until it melts and browns slightly.
At that point turn off the heat and add your cooked pasta. Toss the pasta in the bacon, spinach, garlic and butter until evenly distributed. Add salt and extra herbs to taste. Serve topped with as much parmesan cheese as you desire. Light a candle if you’ve got one. Turn on some music. Set a mood. Then say “I’m a badass bitch” and stuff those delicious carbs in your beautiful face.
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