Well, what happened to the summer? I don’t mean the sunshine, we didn’t have a bad one by British standards, but where did the time go? Whether you have children or not, the darker evenings somehow chase away the idea of loafing around and slowly cooking something to be enjoyed at leisure. Add hungry post-school offspring into the mix and we all need a couple of fast, filling, flexible dinner options up our sleeves.
This is about as simple as it gets. I’ve made a much more photogenic version of this a million times where I was more restrained and stuck to pasta, peas and bacon. This time I fell into the “ooh look what’s in my fridge” trap and also tried to make it a bit healthier. I used a mix of spiralised butternut squash and past, prosciutto, mushrooms and mangetout. It still tasted great, so it just goes to show how forgiving it is. You can even use lunchbox ham and frozen peas if you like. I suppose you could say it started off being related to Carbonara, but an Italian would probably want to run me through their pasta machine for claiming that. So, Carbo-not-Nara it shall be named.
- 4 Tagliatelle nests / other pasta / mix of pasta and spiralised butternut squash (seen in this version)
- 4 rashers of bacon / pack of prosciutto / 8 slices ham
- Veg of your choice - peas & mushrooms work well but you can throw most things in
- 1 small tub of Quark / soft cream cheese
- Splash of milk Sprinkle of grated
- Parmesan / other cheese (optional) +extra shavings
- Zest of half a lemon (optional and completely un-authentic but I like the freshness)
- Chives (optional)
- Salad to serve - I used water cress
- Chop your bacon into small pieces and fry your bacon until crispy. Add a little fat if using ham. Set to one side.
- Fry off any veg (except peas) in the bacon fat.
- Meanwhile, cook your pasta (with the peas if using).
- When cooked, drain the pasta.
- In a jug whisk together the soft cheese with the grated parmesan (if using) and splash of milk until loosened.
- Stir through the hot pasta, veg and crispy bacon until coated.
- Top with chopped chives, lemon zest and shavings of parmesan.