Cooking for two

Sunday, October 4, 2015
Now that there's just two of us at home, I'll have to learn to cook all over again. I'm used to cooking for four, which means if I'm not careful, our fridge gets full of leftovers that can take days to finish. Freezing leftovers is a good option, but not everything freezes well. And I'd rather make smaller amounts so we have some variety, rather than pulling out increasingly smaller containers of yesterday's (or the day before's) dinner.

Maybe it was the "for two" that appealed to me about this recipe. Or maybe it was the great flavours - asparagus, pancetta, parmesan - all wrapped together in one dish. Whatever it was, this asparagus side dish was a real winner. So good, in fact, that it made me long for leftovers.

Sauteed Asparagus with Pancetta and Parmigiano for Two

8 medium-large asparagus spears
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter (first amount)
1/2 ounce/15 grams pancetta, coarsely chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
scant 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp finely grated parmigiano-reggiano

Slice the asparagus on a sharp angle into pieces that are 2 inches long.

In a medium (9-10 inch) nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil and 1/2 Tbsp butter over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, add pancetta and cook until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and transfer pancetta with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add asparagus to the skillet, season with salt, and return pan to the heat, raising it to medium-high. Cook stirring frequently, until all of the asparagus pieces are nicely browned, up to 10 minutes. They will still be firm, but not crunchy.


Remove pan from the heat and add remaining 1/2 Tbsp butter and the balsamic vinegar (it will sizzle). Stir right away and keep stirring until butter has melted. Transfer asparagus to a serving dish and garnish with Parmigiano and pancetta crisps.

25 comments:

Julie said...

Looks delicious. We just don't get good asparagus in the off season here. Saving this one for Spring. If you come up with good "for two" recipes let me know. For us it works out okay, we both take our lunches, so that's where the leftovers go. Have a great week.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Looks delicious. I'm excited you're making recipes for two since I'm cooking for one.




Liz Berg said...

I haven't figured out how to cook for two yet! I made spaghetti sauce yesterday and I have tons to freeze. But I'm happy to have an elegant side dish that won't leave me with leftovers :)

We Are Not Martha said...

Pancetta makes everything better!! Cooking for two is harder than people think!

Sues

Marcela said...

Sauteed Asparagus with Pancetta and Parmigiano... it sound so delicious! I can't cook for just 2 though... well... you could call it cooking for two, freezing 3/4 for later!

Laura Dembowski said...

I'm pretty used to making small meals, but it would be very difficult for me to adjust. I'm sure you'll get used to it eventually - or just invite some friends over for dinner :)

Amy said...

Asparagus is a favorite of mine and pancetta makes it even more delicious!

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm drooling!!! Can't wait to try this :)

Stephanie Faris said...

I'm not a very healthy eater--green stuff doesn't draw me in. But if I did like green stuff, this would be awesome!

Caroline Taylor said...

This sounds delicious, I'm sure it won't take you long to get cooking for two!

Pam said...

It sounds delicious! I remember how hard it was to cook for 2 when the boys went away to college and on after that, and still cook too much sometimes. Thanks for the recipe!

Monica said...

So simple and so good. Sounds like a real winner. I love leftovers but I totally agree about not going overboard so you can have variety. And since we love to cook/bake, smaller servings make sense.

Sue said...

This does sound delicious, Beth! I must have missed visiting here longer than I thought...to find out you are empty nesters!?! What?!?

Kitchen Riffs said...

Even though it's always been two of us, I've never really learned how to cook for two -- always making too much. On purpose, though, because we like to freeze leftovers. Although I've gotten much better at it recently. So this is a dish that's perfect for us -- loads of flavor, and just the right quantity! Thanks so much.

Angie Schneider said...

This is simple to prepare and lots of flavour. I will easily finish the whole portion.

Marcelle @ A Little Fish in the Kitchen said...

I made a baked asparagus dish with tomatoes just the other night, but I didn't think to add in something like pancetta or even a little bacon! Sounds really wonderful. Thanks for the recipe :)

Valerie Gamine said...

This looks fabulous, Beth! Yes. yes. yes, to pancetta!! Definitely a romantic dinner for two. ;)

Katerina said...

My mom had the same problem when my brother and I left home. She still cannot compromise with that idea and her fridge is always as full as mine haha! I love the flavors in this dish Beth!

Joanne said...

I do a lot of cooking for four and then we eat a lot of leftovers! But it is more fun to have variety. This looks so tasty and healthy!

Tricia Buice said...

I just love asparagus! I try to cook for four just so we will have leftovers. My husband is the best when it comes to left over dishes - he is not picky :) This sounds wonderful - hope you are enjoying your time as two :)

Barbara said...

I think there's a cookbook out about cooking for two. I cook for one! Not easy, but I've managed without too much waste. Love your dish, Beth. Asparagus is a favorite.
(BTW: A spatchcock is a very young chicken...Donna Hay uses them often in her recipes,,,,here, it more commonly refers to a method of butterflying chicken.)

Cakelaw said...

Yes, cooking for smaller numbers is a struggle. This dish sound superb - I adore asparagus.

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Hi Beth, I have been cooking for 2 the last 5 years or so and still have a hard time getting the portions right. Love the flavors of this dish, all my favorites.

I Wilkerson said...

Yes, I am going through that same transition now. The best thing I did was buy some smaller baking dishes--6 inch pie pan (Crate & Barrel), 6 inch spring form pan, etc. Pie for two! Your dish sounds fantastic--lots of my favorite ingredients!

Claudia said...

Love the combination of ingredients. I found some asparagus that was amazingly good for October last week. (Wonder where it came from? Best not to wonder?) When my eldest went to college, I couldn't master cooking for three. And while I have figured out cooking for two - I just make more and leftovers are for lunch and a future meal, Empty nesting - a little bittersweet.

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