I cleaned out my fridge today (there aren’t many household chores I hate more, but it was overdue). After all the expired items had been thrown out and all the fresh items had been rearranged on the shelves and in the drawers, I found myself eyeing half of a gigantic zucchini from our garden and five slices of bacon that needed to be used up. What to do with them?
I raided the pantry and freezer, coming up with a handful of things I thought might work: garlic, canned tomatoes, frozen peas, an onion, heavy cream, a box of penne. I cracked open Marcella Hazan for inspiration, although I didn’t follow any one recipe. Half an hour later, dinner was on the table—and my people pretty much devoured it, so I thought I’d better make a note. Then I thought maybe I’d just share the recipe here, with you.
You could take this approach with any pasta and almost any vegetables. You could switch out the bacon for pancetta, or even some diced grilled chicken. The key here is that this is a perfect leftovers-meet-pantry dish. And it’s super quick.
East Skillet Pasta with Smoky Tomato Cream Sauce
12-14 ounces uncooked pasta
1 T olive oil
5-6 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed with the blade of a knife and minced
2 cups diced zucchini
1 cup frozen peas
14-16 ounces canned diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly grated parmesan for topping
Fill a large pot with water, add a pinch of salt, and place over high heat. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Drain.
While the water for the pasta is heating:
Prep the bacon and vegetables.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the bacon, stirring, until the fat begins to look translucent. Reduce heat to medium.
Add the onion. Cook and stir until it begins to soften.
Stir in the garlic.
Add the zucchini. Cook and stir until tender.
Add the peas and tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until simmering.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low.
Stir in the cream until fully combined.
Stir in the cooked, drained pasta.