Thursday, July 22, 2010

Spaghetti Pie

Don't get grossed out by the name of this dish. It's actually very delicious. It's something my mom made at home and again, no idea where she got the recipe from. I suspect it's from those cooking classes. Anyway, it's a favorite of mine.

And funny story associated with this meal: When Wes and I had just started dating, I made this meal for him. Well, you have to flip the pie out of the pan and onto a plate. It takes coordination and some skill. I asked him to do it for me. What happened? He flipped the pie alright, but the oil in the pan dripped onto the stove and somehow scorched his arm hair on his left arm. I felt bad. We took a picture. And Wes now refuses to help me with this dish.

Spaghetti Pie

1 Tb. shredded parsley
1 Tb. shredded basil
1 Tb. shredded oregano
3 large eggs
6 Tb. grated Parmesan cheese
4 green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
8 oz. spaghetti - I suggest using about 10 oz.
5-6 oz. Fontina, Havarti, Provolone or Munster cheese
4 oz. pancetta or bacon
1/4 cup olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions. When done, drain and rinse in cold water.

In a large bowl, combine herbs, eggs, Parmesan, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix in cooked noodles.

Heat a nonstick 10" skillet over medium heat. Add 2 Tb. (half the oil) in the the skillet. When hot, spread half the pasta mixture into the skillet. Layer sliced cheese and bacon then add the rest of the pasta on top, covering the cheese and bacon layer. Cook for 4 minutes or until browned on the bottom. My mom likes to "forget" about it and let it go beyond four minutes which allows the bottom to get a nice, crunchy crust. Flip the "pie" out of the pan and on to a plate. **This is the technical part here: Place a plate the same size as the pan on top of the pan. Place one hand firmly flat on the top of the plate. With the other hand grab the pan handle. In one fluid motion, turn the pan upside down to loosen the pie. You should end up with the crusty side facing up and the plate in your hand like a waitress. Maybe do this away from the hot eye until you get better, so you don't end up with burned hair too.** Add the rest of the oil to the pan and slide the pie back into the pan. Cook another 4 minutes or until browned on the bottom.

Remove from pan. Slice into wedges and serve.

I'm salivating at the pictures and can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch....

I typically don't add bacon to this even though the recipe calls for it because I'm too lazy to cook up some bacon and chop it up. In fact, I have a distinct memory of my mom cooking bacon for this dish and me stealing a couple of bites before it goes into the dish. But that's not the reason I don't add it. I'm just lazy. The recipe also suggests a lot of different cheeses you can use. For this time, I used Fontina. I actually like Havarti better, but couldn't find it at the grocery store. The store should have it though. The Havarti adds more of a bite than the Fontina. And provolone is very mild compared to the other suggestions.

I also left out the green onions because you-know-who doesn't like them. But I think they add a ton of flavor to this dish. And have typically added them in the past. But with all the herbs and different cheeses, there is a lot going on with this dish. There's also the crunchiness on the outside from the fried noodles, the softness of the cooked noodles on the inside and the creaminess of the cheese in the middle. If you add bacon, there's also that wonderful salty flavor of the bacon. It actually adds a great dimension.

It's not a hard or time consuming dish to make. The hardest part, and don't be scared by it, is the flipping of the pie out of the pan. I admit, it takes practice. But you just have to go for it. The end result is just amazing.

Oh, and I got to use the herbs from my little herb garden in this dish. Yes, I have an herb garden. Yum!

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