Food & Drink Magazine

Epically Hectic Pepperoni Noodles

By Weliketocook @welike2cook
Hectic is a relative term. When our sons were toddlers, I would grouse about being busy with laundry, preschool and play dates. Once they were school age, the pace increased with bus schedules, homework, soccer practices and games, Sunday school, and more play dates. Regardless of how eventful our lives were, we made every attempt to eat dinner as a family every night. As the guys entered middle school, life got even more frantic with more difficult homework, karate practice 4 days a week, Debate and student government meetings, intramural sports, church activities and young ladies with blooming figures, (and believe it or not we also have activities outside our parenting duties.)
I can recall a particularly bad day when the boys were very little; my next-door-neighbor gave some sage advice. She said, “Don’t worry; this is just a phase which will be over soon. The next phase may be better or it may be worse, but at least it will be different.” We have reminded ourselves of that guidance many times over the years, but it did nothing to prepare us for the rigors of high school (and we’re not referring to the curriculum which is rigorous as well.)
Both of our guys are now in high school with REAL homework, high stakes tests, track practice every day, Latin club, Art club, tutorials, driving lessons, marathon track meets, Confirmation classes, SAT prep, AP study groups, research papers, Prom drama, and teenage angst. As you can imagine, our evening meals together can be quite difficult to arrange. On those nights when a quick supper is in order, the guys have only one request: pepperoni noodles.
There is nothing fancy about the title nor is there anything fancy about the dish; they simply love it. The first time I made this spicy pasta was when the boys were about three and five years old. On a frantic evening with little in the pantry, I fashioned a meal out of a pound of linguine, some diced pepperoni and Parmesan cheese. Little did I know that it would become a mainstay of their diets for the rest of their lives. My sister even commented recently, "you were making pepperoni noodles the last time I called, and I think the time before that." What can I say? It's been hectic around here! Coincidentally, it is the one meal that I know both will be able to duplicate once they are on their own.
Epically Hectic Pepperoni Noodles
1 lb. pasta
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ cup pepperoni, finely diced
1 mound of Parmesan cheese, grated
In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add minced garlic and cook until lightly brown. Do not overcook garlic or it will taste bitter and ruin the flavor of the oil. Add diced pepperoni and toss around the pan to fully coat with olive oil and to heat the pepperoni through. You do not need to cook the pepperoni for more than a few minutes as it is already fully cured.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water which should take about 10-12 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander, remembering to save some of pasta water to help hydrate the pasta if needed. Transfer the cooked pasta to a mixing bowl.
Epically Hectic Pepperoni NoodlesOnce the pepperoni is heated (and the olive oil is a fluorescent orange color,) pour over the cooked pasta and toss thoroughly to ensure noodles are fully coated with the flavorful (disturbing-looking) oil. Serve in large bowls with generous amounts of grated Parmesan cheese and be sure to remove your hands quickly else they get gobbled in the ensuing eating frenzy.

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