Parents Need to Eat Too

The Naptime Chef’s Busy Day Linguine

The Naptime Chef’s Busy Day Linguine

pasta with quick tomato-pancetta sauce

I’m at a writers’ conference (and on Friday I’ll be moderating a panel about cookbook writing, if you’re a writer in NYC & would like to come…) so I invited Kelsey Banfield, aka The Naptime Chef, to write a guest post. Here’s a fab-looking pasta recipe, and details about her awesome cookbook, The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food Into Family Life. Take it away, Kelsey…

I was so pleased when Debbie shared her recipe for Slow-Cooker Chicken Fajitas with me last winter. We definitely see eye-to-eye on our approach to new parent cooking—prepare in advance! She knows, like all parents with young children, the best thing we can do is share tips and tricks and learn from each other.

I began my adventure in naptime cooking when my daughter was about six months old and haven’t stopped. She is now four years old and only naps occasionally these days but I have simply transitioned from cooking during naptime to cooking while she is at school, or at playdates, or just about whenever I have a few minutes of downtime. I’ve always loved to cook and don’t let our busy lives gets in the way of a good meal! I wrote all about this theme, and more, in my new cookbook The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food Into Family Life.

To me naptime cooking is really about being organized. I promise, if you have a little bit of downtime each day you can easily get a great meal on the table and still enjoy the process. Some days certainly take more planning than others, but don’t despair, if you set your mind to having fun in the kitchen you will! This spring my book tour trips have cut into my kitchen time so I’ve been batch cooking some of our favorite sauces and soups. I stock up the fridge and freezer so when I come home on the red-eye, like I did last Saturday, we still have an awesome meal to look forward to!

This is our favorite simple pasta recipe I’ve named Busy Day Linguine. On any given day I simply make the sauce in the afternoon and toss it with fresh pasta for dinner. To make it in a bulk I double the sauce and freeze half for later!

Busy Day Bucatini

1 pound linguine, or similar long strand pasta
5 ounces pancetta, finely diced
½ yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
28 ounces crushed tomatoes, with juices
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a large skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with a paper towel.
  3. Add the onion and cook until translucent. About 6 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper and saute for 30 seconds.
  4. Pour in the tomatoes with their juices and add the salt and pepper. Add the reserved pancetta back to the pan. Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce is thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Toss with fresh pasta and serve.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Yum! I don’t think I’ve ever had pancetta though-is it more like ham or bacon or canadian bacon (or something else entirely and I’m just totally confused?) I’ll have to look next time I’m at the grocery store and see if they even carry it.

    1. CCM, pancetta is salt-cured, while American bacon is smoked. They’re the same cut of pig, but with different results. If you can’t find it, bacon will work but I’d use less–the flavor’s a lot stronger.

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