Just a couple of days before my car died, I remember thinking, “Wow, the battery in this car sure has lasted a long time. I’m surprised I haven’t been stranded somewhere yet.”
You can guess what happened next, right?
Thankfully, I wasn’t stranded somewhere crazy. My car got us home, but the lights and radio kept flashing on and off as I was driving the girls home from school, so I called the dealership to see if I could bring it in. They told me to drop it off that night and they’d get to it first thing in the morning. I went to start the car, to take it in, and found out then that the battery decided to croak in the garage. The battery, it turns out, wasn’t just dead, it was fried and dead. So much battery acid had leaked out of the battery, that it sizzled up the connections from the car to the battery. Yay. So, while I was supposed to be making dinner for my family, I was calling for Roadside (or Garageside, in this case) service and waiting for the tow truck guy.
Tow truck guy hauled away the car, and it was now an hour or more past the time when we were supposed to have dinner. People were hungry.
This dinner came together in less time than we could have spent running out for take out or grabbing a pizza.
I started by dicing up some pancetta. Pancetta is Italian bacon. It’s readily available at your grocery store’s deli counter.
Once the pancetta was diced up, I sliced up a red onion, washed two pints of tiny tomatoes, and grabbed a cookie sheet.
I tossed the onion and tomatoes with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of red pepper flakes and spread them out on the cookie sheet. Then, I laid the pancetta pieces on top.
The cookie sheet went into a hot oven and the tomato mixture roasted for about twenty minutes, which gave me enough time to cook up my penne pasta.
I took the tomatoes out of the oven when they had started to pop and wrinkle, and a few had toasted up a bit. The pancetta was crisped up and the onions were soft and starting to caramelize.
It smelled like heaven.
I drained my pasta, kept a little bit of the pasta water to add to the sauce, and then tossed the tomato mixture with the pasta, the pasta water, and some chopped parsley.
Paired with a nice glass of wine and some crusty bread, it was the perfect way to end a not so perfect day. The pasta had so much flavor, and sure did taste better than anything a drive-thru could have thrown my way that night. My hungry family gobbled it up.
And then, I had to wait two days to get my car back…but that’s another story.
PENNE WITH ROASTED TOMATOES AND PANCETTA
Adapted from Everyday Food
- 2 pints cherry (I used grape) tomatoes
- 1 thinly sliced large red onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, diced
- 3/4 pound penne
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- Preheat your oven to 450*F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil, and then toss the tomatoes, onion, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper together on the sheet.
- Sprinkle the diced pancetta over the top of the tomato mixture.
- Roast the tomatoes in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have split, and wrinkled, onions are soft, and pancetta has started to crisp up.
- Meanwhile, cook your penne according to the directions on the box in salted water. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
- Toss the roasted tomato mixture with the pasta, the reserved pasta water, and chopped parsley.