Imagine a room lit only by an overhead light. Facing each other off across a dining table are 1977’s The A-Z of Cooking and me. With a flourish worthy of a hot stepping disco move straight out of Saturday Night Fever, the A-Z of Cooking, looking like a young and studly John Travolta places a dish of pasta onto the table, right into the beam of light.
“I’m calling it Spaghetti Etcetera” It says, with a sneer worthy of a Sex Pistol flipping the bird to the Queen.
I stare at the pasta. “Looks good”
“Good it tastes too” says the A-Z of Cooking which has now transformed into Yoda.
“But I will take your Spaghetti Etcetera and top it with an egg. And I will call it Spaghetti Eggcetera”.
“I’m not finished with you” says The A_Z of Cooking and slinks away with all the dignity of the King of Rock and Roll, Mr Elvis Presley dying on a toilet.
And that my friends, is how I defeated 1977 in the battle of “Let’s Give a Plate of Pasta The Most Stupid Name Ever”.
Spaghetti Etcetera is from the Informal Suppers Chapter of The A-Z. Which is maybe why they chose such a lackadaisical name. Then again, the other recipes in the chapter aren’t called Pizza with Stuff on it, Pork Whatever or Who Gives A Toss Potato Salad so who knows what the thought behind this name was.
Regardless of the silly name it is delicious.!
The Etcetera is bacon, black olives, mushrooms, anchovies, onions,garlic and parsley. Otherwise known as the Magnificent Seven of good things to have with pasta. This was a really quick and easy weeknight supper- you can make the topping whilst the pasta cooks so you can go from fridge to table in around 20 minutes! Top with a mix of Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and some chilli flakes, you have a delicious dish!
It’s so good – salty crispy bacon, salty and briny olives, earthy, silky mushrooms, sweet caramelised onions and garlic, fresh and bright parsley with some umami depth from the anchovies. Add some bite from the chilli, some more umami and a touch of creaminess from the Parmesan and you have a dish jam packed full of flavour!
But if you want to take to an entirely new level, why not add an egg and turn it into a Spaghetti Eggcetera?
I used a fried egg but a poached egg would work just as well. I am also about to experiment with steaming eggs which I think would work really well here too. Alternatively, if you are runny yolk phobic, you could crack the entire egg into the hot, drained spaghetti, a la Carbonara, so the heat from the spaghetti cooks the egg. It will taste delicious, but will not look as pretty. Also don’t read the next sentence. Come back after the photo for the recipe.
Okay, now those weirdo’s scared of runny eggs are gone, can I tell the rest of you that breaking into that yolk and then mixing it through the cheese and bacon and mushrooms is a thing of beauty and has an almost addictive joy to it.
- 200g spaghetti
- 200g mushrooms, sliced
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 6 bacon rashers, chopped
- 16 black olives, stoned
- 4 tbsp parsley, chopped plus more for garnish
- 4 eggs
- 3 tbsp olive oil,
- Parmesan cheese to garnish
- Chilli flakes to garnish
- Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon, anchovy fillets and onions in the oil until caramelised around ten minutes.
- Add the garlic, mushrooms and parsley, cover and cook for another five minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through.
- Whilst the mushrooms are cooking poach or fry your eggs, leaving the egg yolk runny.
- When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it well, return to the pan and stir through the bacon and mushroom.
- Serve onto four plates, top with the egg
- Garnish with Parmesan cheese, chilli flakes and fresh parsley.
- Don't worry if you do not like anchovies, they break down leaving absolutely no fishy taste at all.
- Runny egg phobics - break your eggs into the drained spaghetti at step 5, just before adding the bacon and mushrooms. The heat from the spaghetti will cook the eggs as you stir the ingredients through.