Autopilot Dinner: Italian Roommate Pasta

Autopilot Dinner: Italian Roommate Pasta

This is one of those recipes that I make so often that I forget it’s a recipe at all. We make it a lot. Like once a week for months and then have to decide to take a break from it. Ben learned it from, you guessed it, an Italian roommate and then I watched him make it so many times that I started making it. It’s about the least sophisticated thing you can imagine, which is why it’s so great. It’s a bowl of soft, cheesy goodness that’s perfect on a chilly weekday evening when you need an autopilot dinner. I wish I could say omit the bacon if you want it to be vegetarian but I can’t. If you feel like going meatless, make something else. The bacon is critical here as there are so few ingredients.

We made it one night last week and I thought, “Why have I been holding out on SPC?” Apologies. Okay, as if you need one more reason to try this: it makes a whack of food. As in dinner for four and then a full on second leftover meal for four.

Esme has decided she doesn’t like the other ingredient, zucchini. This puts a serious spanner in the works for me. She’ll get over it, right? While I wait for her to come around, will you share your auto pilot dinners with me?

photos by Maya Visnyei

Italian Roommate Pasta

serves 4 twice (one dinner and full leftover lunch or dinner)

4 medium zucchini, julienned
1 glug of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup bacon, chopped into 1 to 2 inch pieces
1 500 gram package of whole wheat pasta
3 eggs
1 cup Parmesan, grated
pepper to taste

Method

In a good sized pan, warm up your olive oil and add onions, garlic and bacon. Allow it all to sizzle away for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the bacon is starting to crisp up.

While that’s happening, put a big pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta and chop up your zucchini into matchsticks. You want them quite narrow.

Toss those veggies into the pan with the bacon and onion mixture. Give it all a good stir so that the zucchini gets well coated. Allow it to cook down for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to turn over the vegetables. Some of the zucchini will start to disintegrate and that’s what you’re after, for some of it to be mushy and some to still be whole.

Once the water is boiling, cook your pasta according to the package instructions. We like this pasta with rotini, penne or fusilli – I really wouldn’t make it with long pasta. Drain it well and throw the cooked noodles into the vegetables and give it all a good stir.

In a small bowl, whisk up the eggs and stir in the grated parmesan. Pour the cheesy eggs into your noodles and mix well. Cook over medium heat until the sauce just sets. The whole thing will go from wet to gooey in just a few minutes.

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11 Comments

  1. melissa
    October 24, 09:46 Reply
    Wanna know my go to? My grandma used to make something similar...Pasta (ziti, rotini or I sometimes use broad no-yolk egg noodles) cottage cheese, lots of butter, a sprinle of parm cheese, s + p and green peas which can be frozen or fresh. Easy, yummy, kid-friendly and you can certainly use other veggies like zuchinni or broccoli.
  2. Denise @ TLT
    October 24, 15:32 Reply
    Great idea! It reminds me of a carbonara, fast and always good:)
  3. Family Feedbag
    October 24, 18:27 Reply
    I love the recipe name! What a delicious, simple comfort food. Sounds great. I'm trying to think of an "auto-pilot" dinner I make... hmmm... any pasta, I guess. It's so fast and tasty!
  4. Ceri Marsh
    October 24, 18:35 Reply
    Melissa, your grandma's pasta sounds delish! And you're so right, Denise, it is sort of a veggie-ish carbonara. I'd love to know which pastas you make Amy - I'm always in need of more. Particularly since Esme has decided zucchini isn't her friend anymore!
  5. Katie
    October 24, 18:38 Reply
    I am a zucchini nut, so I know I'd love this! Yummy!
  6. Amy
    October 28, 12:46 Reply
    My go to dinner is a vegetable soup. Pull any veggies out of the fridge or freezer, chop small, cook in water or stock, puree. Also I make a pea pesto from frozen peas that is quick and healthy. http://fourseasonskitchen.blogspot.com/2010/10/labor-pasta.html
  7. Lisa
    July 05, 11:58 Reply
    My go to dinner is often chicken noodle soup or beef barley soup dependng on which item I have left over from sunday night dinner! My kids love both and they are so easy to throw together - 8 cups stock (chicken or beef), diced onion, couple of carrots and 2 stalks celery. Throw in your meat and add egg noodles for the chicken soup and pearl barley for the beef (about 3/4 cup). My other fave for left over chicken is chicken pot pie. I cheat and use a ready made pie crust and the filling is 2 cups chicken, 2 cups frozen mixed veg, and 1 can cream of chicken soup. 350 for 35-40 mins. It freezes great too.
  8. Amanda
    October 22, 12:27 Reply
    I see I'm about a year late? I really like this recipe, and my family's go-to is Domburi: 3 eggs,pepper, 2 tbsp mirin, 4 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp sugar, 3/4 cup thinly sliced onion, 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs , cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks, 2 green onions , cut into chunks, 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms, 2 cups lightly packed watercress leaves, 1-1/2 cups hot cooked rice. Beat eggs with pepper; set aside. Whisk together 1/2 cup (125 mL) water, mirin, soy sauce and sugar; set aside. In nonstick skillet, sprinkle onion evenly over pan; top with chicken, green onions, mushrooms, and watercress. Pour soy sauce mixture over top; cover and simmer over medium heat until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour eggs over chicken; cover and simmer on low heat until lightly set, about 30 seconds. Serve over rice with all drippings divided evenly. We eat this at least once a week. I use spinach leaves instead of watercress.

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