Inside: This recipe for Peasant Pasta is done in less than 15 minutes and can be served as a meatless main course or as an easy side. The result is a simple pasta dish that you can make with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry.
We found out last Saturday that my youngest son has a double ear infection. We were lucky enough to get him into our pediatrician that morning, but by late afternoon this mom was spent. I had no energy to cook an elaborate dinner, we didn’t want to take my son out with his ear infection, and we’ve hit the drive-thru more often that I care to admit lately.
Then I remembered the recipe that a co-worker, Chimmy, suggested to me called Peasant Pasta. I was intrigued by this recipe when he told me his version was 3 ingredients—spaghetti, eggs, and oil– and less than 15 minutes to make.
I couldn’t wrap my brain around spaghetti and eggs together in a dish. Naturally, I had questions.
“How does this work?”
“Are the eggs fried or scrambled?”
“You don’t put anything else in it?”
“So…spaghetti, eggs, and oil—no seasoning? Cheese?”
“It feels like it’s missing something; perhaps some garlic.”
I soon found out that Peasant Pasta was a dish that Chimmy’s Italian mother used to make for him often as a child. His grimacing looks and exasperated tone gave me the impression that I was treading on thin ice with my dissection of his beloved mother’s recipe.
“Spaghetti al dente, eggs, and piping hot oil. That’s it. And always have an ice-cold glass of water to go with it,” he explained.
Then he kissed his fingertips in true Italian fashion.
Actually, I’m not entirely sure the fingertip kiss happened, I could totally be making that up. I’m not making up the ice water thing though.
He was oddly adamant about the ice water.
I still had a hard time wrapping my head around a three ingredient pasta recipe, so I hit the internet to see what else I could find about this mysterious dish. What I found was that Peasant Pasta recipes vary greatly in ingredients.
Some are similar to Chimmy’s recipe, such as this Pastina with Egg and Cheese by Framed Cooks. Others are meat and tomato based, like this recipe for Creamy Italian Sausage Peasant Pasta by the Hungry Bluebird.
Clearly, the definition of Peasant Pasta is up for interpretation, so I didn’t feel too bad when I made a couple of small additions to this easy recipe.
1/2 lb spaghetti
1/2 cup Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
6 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
To make Peasant Pasta, start by boiling ½ pound of spaghetti in salted water until al dente.
While your pasta is cooking, beat 4 eggs.
No disrespect to Mama Chimmy, but I thought it needed some seasoning and Parmesan to really set it off. Add ½ cup Parmesan to the beaten eggs. Salt and pepper to taste. Set the egg mixture aside until the pasta is done.
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Add 6 tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet and warm over medium heat. You do not want the oil so hot that it starts to splatter. Right before you drain the pasta, add ½ teaspoon minced garlic to the hot oil. Let the garlic cook while you are draining the pasta.
Reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water and then drain the spaghetti and return it back to the pot. Work fast so that the garlic doesn’t scorch in the oil.
Pour the scrambled egg mixture over the spaghetti, then immediately pour the hot oil over the top. You will hear a loud sizzle as the oil hits the eggs. Cover the pot with a lid and let the dish set for 3-5 minutes.
The hot oil and residual heat from the warm spaghetti and pot will cook the eggs as it sits. Remove the lid after 3-5 minutes and toss the spaghetti. Add salt, pepper, and more Parmesan as needed.
The combination of eggs and oil will scramble some of the eggs and the rest will turn into a light sauce. Add the reserved pasta water as needed until it’s the desired consistency.
Peasant Pasta is ready in less than 15 minutes and can be served as a meatless main course or as an easy side. The result is a simple pasta dish that you can make with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. If you want to add your own spin on it, try adding a protein or veggie to the mix and see how it turns out.
Whatever you do, don’t forget the ice water.
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