Cookery Maven Blog

Sassy Quiche

I'm back after a hiatus due to a pinched nerve in my neck and a numb right arm— I have a whole new appreciation for the phrase 'a pain in the neck', heating pads and Ben-Gay. I have to admit, I really missed taking pictures and writing about my dinners, dogs, waterfalls, photo safaris and all the other pieces that make up the mosaic of a Mary Dougherty day. The good news is it forced me to (kind of) clean up my hedonistic eating habits and I'm proud to say I throw back a quart of green smoothie every morning. And there's even more good news— before my nerves staged their insurrection in my neck, I made these beautiful little quiches with Sassy Nanny chevre and Northern Smokehaus pancetta. There's something about my red tartlet pans that makes my heart go pitter-pat (and it doesn't hurt there was pancetta and chevre involved).

I feel like I've catapulted myself over into 'I have a rolling-pin and I know how to use it' land every time I make my own shortcrust pastry, it's not as hard as I thought and nine times out of ten, it actually works out. When I find myself in 'what the hell am I supposed to do with this rolling pin' land, there is a package of Pillsbury pie crusts in the freezer that's perfectly acceptable and flaky. I used a recipe from Rachel Allen (recipe here) but use whatever recipe (or refrigerated pie crust) you feel comfortable with— it's really all about the filling, in my opinion.

Sassy Quiche

6 tartlet pans
3 tbsp butter, melted for the tartlet pans
1 batch of shortcrust pastry or a package of refrigerated pie crusts
3/4 cup red onion, chopped
3/4 pound of pancetta or bacon
1/2 cup of Parmesan, shredded
3/4 pound Sassy Nanny chevre
4 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sauté pan, cook the pancetta or bacon until crisp, remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan you cooked the pancetta, add the red onion and cook until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside with the pancetta. Brush the interiors of the tartlet pans with butter and place rounds of shortcrust pastry in each pan. Press the dough firmly into the sides and bottom of each pan, sprinkle the parmesan over the bottom and set aside. Divide the chevre into 6 equal portions and add it, along with pancetta and onions, to each pan. Combine the eggs and cream, pour into each tartlet pan (until it's about a 1/4 inch from the top of the crust) and sprinkle the rosemary over each pan. Bake in the preheated 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until filling sets and top of quiche is lightly browned. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Pancetta Pasta Carbonara

Pancetta, peas and a cream sauce— what's not to like? If that's all I ate for a week, my thighs and arteries might have a list of things not to like but a once a month visit to creamy, salty pasta land won't completely derail my healthy plans for 2013. We have Sunday Funday around here (it helps to have one day a week with a little dietary reckless abandon) and pancetta is the life of the party, as far as I'm concerned. Since I've always had a fondness for peas, I settled on pasta carbonara as our Sunday Funday dinner. It lived up to the hype and was worth the wait— it was a Funday, indeed.

Pasta Carbonara With Pancetta (From The Pioneer Woman website)

12 ounces pasta, any variety
8 ounces pancetta, diced small
1/2 whole red onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 whole eggs
3/4 cups Parmesan, finely grated
3/4 cups heavy cream
Sea salt & plenty of black pepper
1/2 cup peas

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, fry the pancetta until just barely crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Pour off all of the bacon grease, but don't clean the pan. Return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat and throw in the onions and garlic. Cook until golden brown. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix together eggs, Parmesan, cream, and salt and pepper until smooth.

When the pasta is done, reserve a cup or two of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and place it in a bowl. While the pasta is still really hot, slowly drizzle in the egg mixture, stirring the pasta the whole time. The sauce will become thick and should coat the pasta. Splash in a little hot pasta water if needed for consistency.

Halfway through, add the peas, bacon, and sautéed onions and garlic. Finish adding the sauce, stirring until it's all combined.

Add lots of extra Parmesan and serve immediately.