On October 19, 2010 I moved from the US to The Netherlands. This is a love story many years in the making.

Pasta met spullen, als gevraagd (as requested)

Turn the oven on very low, set out an oven-proof dish that will hold all your stuff, pasta included and then…Make Stuff. Once you have made Stuff, put it in the oven-dish, and cover it up. Here’s one version of the Stuff you can make to go in this.

Boil a bag or two of fresh pasta, or if you’re feeling adventurous, make your own. I’m generally way too lazy for that, but it’s unquestionably going to be yummier if you make your own. Well, if you’re any good at making pasta, anyway. When it’s cooked to just slightly less than the softness you prefer, drain it and toss it in a bowl with some butter or olive oil, just enough to coat it and keep it from sticking together. Put it in the covered oven dish. In the oven.

Sautee’ a pile of cut-up fresh mushrooms in butter or olive oil, salt and pepper, and maybe some white wine (or red, if you don’t mind purple mushrooms). I think the wine gives a lovely flavor so it I use it if I have some. Pour in the wine and cover the ‘shrooms, letting them simmer until tender. Remove the lid and raise the heat, cooking off the liquid. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms. Put them in the covered oven dish.

In the same pan, pour in a bunch of carrot rounds and peas. Cook the same way as the mushrooms, until the carrots attain the desired level of softness and the peas are tender. I like to brown the carrot slices a little, so I turn up the heat just toward the end. Put them in the covered oven dish.

While you’re doing all this, in a small pan slowly cook some really good bacon, sliced into lardons. If you’re Dutch, use the bacony-bits (spekreepjes) you can get at Albert Heijn. They’re awesome in this stuff. When the bacon is good and browned but not crumbly – cook it slowly! – remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and then cook some diced onion in the bacon fat. Remove both items to the covered oven dish.

Cube some meat. I’ve tried chicken, Aimee has tried pork. I bet this would be completely fabulous with shrimp, or some filets mignon.Β  Cut into 1-2 inch cubes, and sautee in a stainless steel pain with some butter (Butter. Not olive oil, this time. Butter!), salt, pepper, and thyme. As a gauge: For two chicken breasts, I use about a level teaspoon of dried thyme. Sautee until nicely browned, and remove from pan, dividing it into whatever bowls you’re planning to serve your meal in. Turn the heat down, deglaze the pan with a generous amount of cognac, then pour in some heavy cream. If you’re making this for two people I’d use about half a cup. Lengthen it a little with some half and half, sour cream, yogurt, or creme fraiche. Stir in some mustard – a generous teaspoon at least, some salt and pepper, and turn up the heat, stirring constantly until the cream is thick, slow pouring, and richly brown. (Caveat: if your chicken didnt leave enough browny stuff on the bottom of the pan to turn the sauce brown, then add a little more mustard for flavor and carry on anyway). Salt and pepper to taste.

Take your pan out of the oven, and distribute pasta, bacon and vegetables over the chicken cubes, pour the cream sauce over the lot and toss it until everything is creamy and coated and delicious. This is not a particularly attractive looking meal, so I didn’t photograph it, but…be prepared to over-eat.

You can vary the Stuff any old way. If you’re low-carbing, you should skip the pasta and add more veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower. Zucchini. Sweet peppers. Use whatever veggies you have on hand – that’s how this was born:

..oO( what’s in the fridge that needs using up? )

Enjoy πŸ™‚

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2 responses

  1. What, no pictures????

    I’m excited to make it. πŸ˜€

    February 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    • yetanotherfoodpr0nblog

      I did say it’s not a pretty dish πŸ™‚

      February 10, 2011 at 9:44 am

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