Saturday, January 22, 2011

Not-quite-30 Minute Pasta: Rigatoni with onions, pancetta, and pecorino

When my hubby walked into the kitchen tonight, looked up at the clock, looked at dinner on the table, and looked at the copy of Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta sitting on the counter, he said, "I think this book is worth purchasing ~ not just checking out from the library!"

I'm sure many of us have had the experience of going to cook a "quick" recipe for the first time and having it take twice as long as it's supposed to, as you figure out the methods, realize too late what you forgot to prep, have meat that needs to be cooked in two batches. So I knew that my first foray into 30 Minute Pasta would be pretty quick, but I was not anticipating 27 minutes from walking into the kitchen to sitting down at the table.

Kayte joined another cooking group: Thirty Minute Thursdays, and when she posted about it, I was intrigued. We are always looking for quick recipes for those kinds of nights (you know the type I'm talking about, right?), and pasta is pretty much never-fail in our house.

However, I can't commit to cooking on Thursday nights. You see, Thursday nights and I just don't get along. For some reason, I'm up for cooking (an intricate dish, something thrown together, whatever) pretty much every Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but for some reason when Thursday rolls around, I just can't get myself to walk into the kitchen. It took a lot of weeks of "What's for dinner?" arguments before we finally realized that they always happened on Thursdays, and thus Thursdays became hubby's night for dinner. Sometimes he makes one of his specialties: fajitas, tacos, eggs in a nest; sometimes he just goes and gets us a pizza. Whatever he decides, I take no responsibility for dinner that night, which always feels really good.

Anyway, today was one of those days: didn't get home until midnight from our debate tournament and 18-hour work day yesterday, had to be back at school at 6:20 this morning to make sure the debaters got on the bus for day two of the tournament, then went to swimming lessons with the kiddos, followed by a winter festival at the little guy's preschool. It was big day, and I did not have it in me to cook dinner.

Enter Thirty Minute Pasta! Hubby picked the recipe: Rigatoni with onions, pancetta, and pecorino. Besides those three ingredients, this recipe includes olive oil, salt, and pepper. That's it. And it was on the table in 27 minutes.

The final dish was too salty for my taste. The pancetta is salty by itself, and then GH has you salt the pasta water (I only used one of the two tablespoons of salt he calls for) and lightly salt the sauce. Next time, I think I'll omit the salt from the sauce and go even lighter on the salt in the pasta water. But it was a tasty, quick dinner, and perfect for a night like tonight. I can't wait to see what the rest of the book has in store!


  1. I sometimes do mine on Thursdays and sometimes not, trying to get better about posting on Thursday, Last week Mark had surgery, Matt was ill all week, we weren't doing much cooking/eating, so I have yet to get to it, but I will as I love this book. Love to see what you make with this...also love a group where we can just pick what we want when we want it. Yours looks so great, I could eat a serving of that right now!

  2. Abby, I'd love to have you join us at 30 Minute Thursdays! My 30 minute night is usually Tuesday in actuality! I selected Thursday for posting because I could be pretty sure I'd be home! LOL! Absolutely no worries on my part about you posting when ever it's best for you! I'd love if you'd send me your link! Kayte sent me the link to this post...please feel welcome to come visit and post with us if you like!

  3. We all need an emergency meal or two up our sleeves! Pasta is such a good alternative and the recipe sounds delicious - will watch out for the book. Thanks Abby! :)