Pasta with a Purpose

If you’re traveling to the beach for spring break or to your country house for a long weekend, it’s nice to be able to bring along the first night’s dinner so you don’t have to run to the grocery store. My mother always prepared some casserole that was toted along so she could enjoy the first night’s cocktail hour. And even though I don’t personally subscribe to schlepping along some frozen “taco pie,” I do love bringing along a few of my very favorite things to make a delicious dinner, as well as a few staples I can’t live without. This pasta with bacon and olives is an easy to do and requires few ingredients.

RECIPE

Pasta with Bacon and Olives
Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb. bacon fried, drained and stored in a Ziploc bag
1/3 cup white wine
1 10-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 8-oz. jar pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup milk or cream (or a little goat cheese)
1 lb. dried spaghetti, cooked
Fresh basil
Parmesan cheese

Sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat for about five minutes or until clear. Add about 1/2 cup bacon and deglaze with wine. Stir in tomatoes, olives and cream. Simmer for 20 minutes or more on low heat. Toss with cooked spaghetti and garnish with fresh basil, a bit of crunchy bacon and parmesan cheese. Serves 4 to 6.

Tote Bag Essentials

Some items to bring along that will make your first night or two on vacation easier.

• 1 bottle wine
• Small wine bottle opener   
• 1 small package goat cheese
• Block of parmesan
• 1 jar jelly or apple butter (Good on toast for an easy breakfast.)
• 1 loaf crust bread (Due to its versatility, my favorite is the Seeduction bread from Whole Foods.)
• 1 tube chili paste (I use it in pasta or to spice up tacos. It’s even good on eggs when diluted with sour cream, as I think it makes things taste fresh.)
• 1 small bottle olive oil
• The ingredients for the first night’s supper, usually the pasta with bacon and olives. I always fry an extra pound of bacon that’s good the next morning with the leftover bread and jelly. The olives I will use in a salad later in the week.
• A container of Cool Brew or some other cold drip coffee, because I’m particular about my coffee.
• Paper plates, paper napkins, cups and plastic utensils. (If you get in late, the last thing you will want to deal with is dirty dishes.)