pasta carbonara with leeks and lemon

Nothing is certain but death and taxes...

I want to add a few stipulations to that:

1. Most people hate Mondays.
2. Most people think reading at the table during a meal is rude.


3. Parents have a litany of rules. Some great, some good, some not-so-good, and others are just arbitrary. They vary from home to home.

I also remember certain arbitrary rules I hated as a kid, making my bed for example. I thought it was stupid and vowed never to the same to my kids. So far I haven't. I make my bed but could care less about my kids. You want to sleep in a tangle of sheets and blankets? Great, fantastic, have at it. It's not for me but if you don't care, neither am I. Pick your battles is my motto.

Which brings me to #2. You can read at breakfast and lunch but dinner? No, there is no reading at the table unless I am feeling nice and I rarely feel nice. But every couple nights one of the kids would inevitably ask if they could read at the table. Really? You know the answer is (shaking the magic 8 ball) In all likelyhood, NO! Then I would get a lot of whys, how comes, and who made that rule? I honestly didn't have an answer that satisfied them or me for that matter. 'Because I said so' has never been a good reason to me. I feel like a bully when I play that card.

So we cut a deal. Every Monday night you can read at the dinner table but in exchange for that, no reading or asking to read at the dinner table for the rest of the week. It makes Mondays a little more pleasant (see #1) and has started a nice unexpected tradition. We sit at the table for a little longer and most often there is a conversation going on anyways.

This Monday night's dinner was pasta carbonara with leeks and lemon. What we were reading:

Krysta: Zone One by Colson Whitehead [so far not feeling it like the critics]
Drew: He didn't read anything this week
Will: The Bachman Books by Stephen King  [the original book containing Rage]
Nancy: It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini [loves it, can't wait to read it again. movie sucked.]

pasta carbonara with leeks and lemon: everyday food november 2011
serves 4
(printable recipe)

salt and pepper
12 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces
4 leeks (white and light green parts only) halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and thinly sliced
1 pound pasta
2 large eggs
1/2 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/4 cup) plus more for serving
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from skillet. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until leeks are golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add pasta to pot and cook according to directions. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, Parmesan, lemon zest and juice. Whisk 1/4 cup pasta water into egg mixture.

Drain pasta and immediately add to egg mixture, along with bacon, leeks, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Sprinkle with more cheese if desired and serve immediately.


Kristin @ Going Country said...

No reading, no singing, get your elbows off the table, say grace, ask to be excused . . .

My parents had a lot of dinnertime rules. It's a family meal--it should be a pleasant social activity for everyone. Now that I have a kid (granted, a very young kid who will presumably get more civilized in time), I can see how difficult that can be to achieve with small heathens in residence.

Amy said...

Look at it this way, K - they could be doing a lot worse things at the dinner table. I'd say if they want to read, you're ahead of the game.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like my household, where rules get that exception built in (usually by demand) so I don't feel like an ogre and my youngun can have an outlet. Feet can be tucked up on the chair for breakfast, but not any other meals. Spongebob one morning a week before school but PBS kids the rest of the time, etc.

I've always made a very traditional carbonara so will look forward to trying this out, looks wonderful. Nice site - my first visit.