In the Kitchen: Pasta With Bok Choy and Mushrooms

This falls into the category of: "I don't feel much like cooking, but have perishables that I need to use or lose and what can I find to go with them?"

The perishables were bok choy and several mushrooms. Rummaged in freezer and found some pancetta. Rummaged further in fridge and found a couple of slices of bacon about to go off.

Proceeded from there.

Pasta with Bok Choy and Mushrooms --

  • Head of bok choy, sliced coarse 
  • three or four portabellos (definitely not my favorite, but there they were), chopped coarse 
  • couple of garlic cloves, minced 
  • half dozen or so Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped 
  • can of diced tomatoes (opened) 
  • a couple of chunks of pancetta, mostly the butt end 
  • a couple of slices of bacon

I chopped the pancetta into several largish chunks and put them in a large pan with some olive oil and began rendering the meat. I wanted from the pancetta was the fat and flavor, not what little pork was actually in the pieces. After five or six minutes, I added the pieces of bacon. Let all of it cook. Again, what I wanted was the fat/flavor.

When sufficiently seared and rendered, I removed the meat and to that lovely pork fat, added a bit of olive oil (unlike the truly obnoxious Rachael, I use "non-virgin" olive oil when cooking. Cheaper and more flavorful).

Then I sauteed the mushrooms. I have a small pan (only ten inches in diameter), so I cooked them in two batches. Added the bok choy, tossed it around on high heat for several minutes to flavor and sear the bok.

Put the lid on the pan and cooked all of it for about five minutes (to reduce the bok to a manageable size).

Then I added the tomatoes, olives, and garlic, plus salt and pepper. Put the lid back on and cooked it on low for twenty or so minutes

. Let it sit. Put the pasta water on. While we had a drink, I added the pasta to the water (I used fussilli.) (*1)

Removed the lid from the bok-and-mushrooms and turned up the heat a bit. (I wanted to reduce the sauce.)

While that was happening, I looked at the pancetta and realized there was a bit of meat to be had. So I sliced it very thin. Paper thin. While the pasta cooked, I put the pancetta into the sauce and let it all meld.

When the pasta was ready, I added it and some of the pasta water to the sauce, and tossed and cooked all of it over medium heat.

Poured the wine. And we ate. Problem of perishables-about-to-go-bad solved.


*1: Do yourself a favor: eat good pasta. That Barilla shit is, well, shit. I buy Rustichella. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Hell, yes!