Some say the world will end in fire. Ice is also possible.
Eliza Osborne

Some say the world will end in fire. Ice is also possible.

Today it feels like all life won’t end tomorrow, but a week or so ago not so much. Man oh man it was cold. It. Was. Cold. Could see your breath freezing in the air when you tried to talk. Seemed like no one would hear what you said until the vapor cloud thawed out sometime next spring. Didn’t want to go out. Didn’t want to get up. Didn’t want to do much of anything but sit around with my blankie. Probably freeze to death just walking from the house to the car.

Which, inevitably, led to thoughts about mortality. I know plenty of people who think you might as well go ahead and eat as much bacon as you want before you go, at least you’ll die happy. If you’re one of them, this might help you check that one off your bucket list.

Linguine with Bacon, Mushrooms and Something Green

1 pound of linguine. I like linguine, use what you like. Buy Italian bronze die-cut pasta, available at every store I go to. So much better.

5 or 6 big Portobello mushroom caps, cleaned. These are easier to clean than small mushrooms, but you can use those instead. The gills on these big caps aren’t good to eat; scrape them out with a small spoon. Chop into generous chunks.

Half of a big red or yellow onion, chopped. You can also use green onions.

1 or 2 cloves of garlic, mashed

Butter and neutral olive oil. I use Berio.

Bacon, anywhere from 1/2 a pound up to a pound, up to you. Cut across the slices into pieces about 3/4-inch or so wide. Thick-cut or regular bacon, either is fine.

Parmesan cheese

Salt — I use Maldon sea salt flakes, easily found. You’ll never go back.

Freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes

Baby arugula, which I had in the refrigerator. You could also use baby spinach leaves, endive cut crosswise, parsley, chives, etc. Anyway, something green, so when St. Peter says So, it was bacon that got you? you can point virtuously to the green stuff you threw in. I should warn you it’s possible he may have heard that one before.

One great thing about this is that you can have the work almost totally done way ahead of time. Serves six.

1. Put some butter and oil, a couple of tablespoons of each, into a skillet over low heat. Cook the onions until they are softened and fairly translucent. Tilt the pan, put in a bit more oil, add the garlic. Let the garlic bubble in the oil for a minute or so. Do not brown the garlic. Stir it into the onions. Remove this mix and its oil to a bowl.

2. Heat your pan so it’s medium hot, then add the same amount of butter and oil. Add the mushrooms and quickly stir to coat them. Put a lid on, and after a few minutes, take it off. The mushrooms will have exuded water. Turn the heat up to high to evaporate it, then continue cooking at a slightly lower temperature. Stand there and keep an eye out while you stir: They should brown nicely. Remove them to a bowl. Both of these steps can be done a day or two ahead. Keep the bowls, covered, in the refrigerator.

3. The morning of the day you’re having the pasta, cook the bacon. To keep bacon from shrinking, always start with cold bacon in a cold pan. This can be cooked at a low heat. Stir and separate the pieces; cook until nicely crisped. Don’t burn. Put the pieces on a plate on paper towels to drain, and keep on the counter until later. Wipe the bacon grease out of the pan and leave the covered pan on the stove. You can leave a small amount of grease in the pan; you needn’t wash it.

4. At suppertime, put the mushrooms and onions in the pan and heat them.

5. Boil the pasta.

6. Quickly drain the pasta and mix it with the mushroom mix.

7. Mix in the bacon.

8. Mix in a few big spoonfuls of parmesan.

9. Mix in your fresh greens, as much or as little as you’d like, and toss. I put in a couple of good-sized handfuls.

Serve this in heated bowls or plates with additional cheese, salt and the two peppers on the table. Bread on the side. Heaven. Well, close enough.

Pamela Osborne lives in Salisbury.

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