Lately my husband and I have been in a “What’s for dinner?” rut. I’m an adventurous eater, he is a meat and potatoes guy. I love to try new dishes, he likes his staples. We usually rely on a pretty normal rotation of dishes, but lately, even our go-to dishes have been lackluster…well, except for my homemade pizza. That IS perfect. I’ll save that for another day.
Tonight was one of our food rut nights. Neither one of us was quite sure what we wanted for dinner. We decided to do a “fend for yourself” night. Those nights either end with an inspired, often nutritious meal for me OR I swing the other way and eat junk. I’m trying to break myself of the junk. I never feel good after I eat the junky, processed, “easy” food, and I always wish I had taken the time to treat myself to something real.
I found a graphic on Pinterest recently that had a quote that really speaks to what I’ve been trying to do…
“She woke up one day and decided to stop neglecting her body and start treating it like a temple instead.”
Not only am I trying to feed my body real food, I’m trying to eat for the right reasons, and move much more. So far, like everyone, I have great days, and not so great days, but I wake up every single morning with the goal to do better. And you know what? Little by little, I’m watching my habits change, and I really do feel better.
Tonight I made a dish that I saw on an episode of Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel. Granted, it was a pasta dish, but even with pasta, I make the best possible choice I can. I’ve actually started to prefer the flavor of whole grain pasta, and I eat it in moderation.
The original dish is called Pasta Alla Gricia. It’s a dish with penne pasta, guanciale (cured pig cheeks), garlic, sage, olive oil, pecorino cheese, and black pepper. I didn’t have the pig cheeks (thankfully?), so I used pancetta instead…pig is pig, right?
So we’ll call mine Pasta Alla Pancetta. I made half of the original recipe, and I have plenty of leftovers.
*adapted from Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel
1 T. olive oil
4 oz. pancetta
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2-3 T. fresh sage, chopped
1/3 c. pecorino cheese
1/2 pound pasta
*black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and more pecorino for garnish
In a large nonstick pan, heat the olive oil, and then add the pancetta and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes, making sure that the meat does not get too crunchy and the garlic does not burn. Note: If you see that the garlic is browning too fast, remove it from the pan, finish the pancetta and then add it again to the sauce.
When the pancetta and the garlic are nice and golden brown, add the sage.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta to the water, and cook it about 2 minutes less than indicated on the box. Strain the pasta and add it to the saucepan over medium-high heat, toss it around for a few seconds, then add the grated Pecorino, toss for one minute.
Garnish with some grated Pecorino, a drop of extra-virgin olive oil, and some ground black pepper…and ENJOY!!!!
This dish was so simple and more delicious than any pasta I’ve had in ages. It is light (yep, that’s right…light), flavorful, and the kind of dish that makes you slow down and savor every single bite.
Treat yourself to this dish sometime soon. I promise you will NOT regret a single bite!