and the Oscar goes to…!

no plan pasta

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pasta with red pepper, leeks, bacon

I had the whole thing planned. There would be upscale appetizers, Champagne cocktails, even a prize for the winner of our first annual Who Guessed It Best contest. The house was going to be sparkling clean. I have two pairs of jeans; I was going to wear the nicer pair.

Then we had what we are referring to as The Weekend of Insanity. I don’t need to get into it. The name about sums it up. So our big Academy Award Party (can two people count as a party?) was set to Monday. After spending the day exploring another town near Quito, we arrived home mildly sunburned and totally wiped out. At that point, all the plans flew out the window. The best we could manage was running to the store for some vino tinto and watching the red carpet while throwing together the world’s most loyal stand-by: pasta. There were no fancy cocktails. No classy hors-d’oeuvres. I wore pajamas and big man slippers.

Oscar night pasta was thus the result of opening the fridge door and collecting anything inside that looked like it still had some life to it. These items were prepped while watching the Red Carpet. It was crucial to building our anticipation. 2 thoughts: Emma Stone = adorable. And Brad Pitt, why must you continually demonstrate how easily you can grow your hair out? Show off.

We did go ahead with Who Guessed it Best. We had a list of all the nominees and we wrote them down on separate sheets of paper, being a tad paranoid that the other was sneaking a peak and turning our backs to such a degree that we could barely see the list at one point. And I do mean all the nominees. I have no real clue as to the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, but I forged ahead nonetheless, trying to think like a Sound Guy. ‘If I were a Sound Guy, who knew lots of Sound Stuff, which Sound would be the Best Sound?’ Ah yes, ’twas indeed a scientific thought process I followed.

A similar approach was taken to the pasta. No precise measurements here, my friends. Because as much as the evening itself was thrown together, so was this pasta. And it was delicious.

no plan pasta “recipe”

a big handful of spaghetti noodles
few slices of bacon
a couple of onions, chopped up real good
plenty of chopped garlic
a pile of sliced leeks
a red pepper, finely sliced
a small mound of halved cherry tomatoes
a big ol’ glug of tomato sauce
a few spoonfuls of herb cream cheese
a dash of whole milk
several sprigs of fresh thyme
sliced chives
grated parmesan

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add your noodles and cook for 7-10 minutes, until al dente.

While the noodles are cooking, fry up your bacon until crisp. Transfer to paper towel to absorb the grease. Break the bacon into pieces and set aside (after sampling a few pieces, obviously.) Keep your bacon fat in the pan, we’re going to use it! Add the onions to your pan and cook for a couple minutes. Add garlic, then leeks, then red pepper, and cherry tomatoes, cooking each until it starts to soften, then adding the next. Cook until tomatoes are soft and squishy looking. Add the tomato sauce, herb cheese (I had made an extra batch when we had our celebratory eggs!) and milk. Stir in the cheese until smooth. The herbs are so lovely and fragrant as they cook into the sauce, mmm…

Your sauce won’t need much time, it is already quite thick. If you find it needs more liquid to thin out or even if the veggies need some moisture at the beginning, what I like to do is spoon some of the boiling salted water into the pan while the pasta is cooking. The noodles don’t mind; they can share.

Add the thyme leaves from your sprigs and taste the sauce and see if needs any more seasoning. Drain noodles and add to pan, using tongs to mix it all in together.

Spoon into bowls and garnish with chives, bacon pieces, and freshly grated parmesan.

Best eaten wearing pajamas.

I WON‘t tell you who won Who Guessed it Best…ahem, but in the end, some of the great moments in life are the most low-key. The ones spent with someone you love, enjoying what transpires, not minding at all the plans that flew away. Far far away.

posted in the main event .

13 Responses to and the Oscar goes to…!

  1. I hope your week has improved over your weekend.

    I’m thinking this yummy pasta could cure anything. 😉

  2. Sometimes those impromptu meals end up being the best meals ever…and then sadly, impossible to re-create! This looks lovely and delicious and perfect. Sounds like a perfect Oscar party…you only need two to party in my world!

  3. You always make me laugh . . . I love to come here. (The food’s pretty good, too. Wonder about the parking.)

  4. Emma says:

    Mmmm, bacon pasta. Mmmm, bacon.

    Only two pairs of jeans, eh? Good for you:)

    I love your comment about Brad Pitt’s hair. Ha ha!

  5. No fancy schmantzy-but you are right, sometimes the laid back evening at home is all you need to be happy.Even though things did not go as well as planned, you did manage to pull together a great dinner for Oscar night, it looks tasty in that close up. You definitely have a well stocked fridge-unlike mine.

  6. Christine says:

    Sounds like a perfect party and dish.

  7. Brittany says:

    I find that sometimes having no plan, turns out to be the best plan. I hope this was fun! The pasta sounds delicious.

  8. Only one thing missin… ME! I wish I could have been there w/ Ben to share in your awesome Oscar night. Nothing…reallly…. would have been better for all 4 of us 🙂 xx and might I add- I only cook by making up my non-measuring recipes!

  9. Lesley says:

    my oscar party also did not go as planned. i used to go to fantastically fun oscar parties at home. now, in mexico, the oscar lovers are too far and few between. i too watched it on monday night, wondering how brad pitt ages so well, wondering how much spanx the hollywood ladies were wearing, loving billy crystal and the ‘harry met sally’ references and laughing at the fact my daughter said ‘she must really like her meal’ when the diner scene aired. and pasta, well, doesn’t pasta ALWAYS make EVERYTHING better? xo

  10. Pasta is such a simple, perfect, happy kind of food. It makes you feel super satisfied-this looks so delicious.

  11. I make a lot of similar “clean out my fridge” pasta and I always enjoy it. And you are so right: some of the great moments in life are the most low-key, indeed 🙂

  12. What a gorgeous pasta! Definitely the award winner has deserved it 😀
    Loved this post!

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Brown Butter Mixed M&M Chewy Cookies

  13. Your pasta looks fabulous, but you know what I love more? The way you talk about your husband and your time together with each other. That’s priceless.

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