Cheap Eats: Poor Man's Spaghetti

In my real life (read: what I do when I'm not food blogging), I work as a financial journalist, reporting, researching, and sometimes living through this whole recession thing (I type the words "global economic slowdown" remarkably frequently). And after yesterday's 300-point drop in the Dow, and Treasury Sec. Geithner being all like, "Yeah we're on it--woah! Real Housewives of New York season 2!", I'm surprised people aren't breaking down the doors of CVS for the last remaining packages of ramen and funfetti frosting.

So, while I'm not quite at the point where I'm selling my eggs to buy some scrambled eggs, I'm trying to cut back in the increasingly likely chance we'll soon be living in some post-apocalyptic Lord of the Flies society (I blame our president. I mean, Deep Impact? 24? Every time we get a lovely, reassuring black president, the world almost explodes). Unfortunately, most budget-conscious foods run along the lines of salty, fatty, or just bizzare. Which brings me to "Cheap Eats," an examination of dinners that cost less than $5 and won't eventually use your savings to pay for your triple bypass. On tonight's cardboard menu: Poor Man's Spaghetti.

Ok. So technically Poor Man's Spaghetti has a ways to go before you would call it healthy, being essentially spaghetti with fried eggs, olive oil, and cheese. But, it's certainly inexpensive--the word "poor" is right in the title!--and tasty. I found the recipe online at Bitten, and loved it. It came out deliciously creamy, with the slightly sulphorous taste of the eggs blending delicately with the garlic and smooth cheese. Sprinkled liberally with fresh black pepper and a dash of salt, you have an unusual, but delicious, meal. For all its simplicity, though, you do have to be careful as you cook it--you don't want the eggs to set before you put them in with the spaghetti. My first time, I did it perfectly, but I had some trouble replicating it again before I finally got it right. I'd suggest keeping the frying pan heat pretty low--it's easy to cook the eggs in the spaghetti, but sort of gross to eat pasta with chunks of fried egg in it.

1/2 pound thin spaghetti
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, lightly smashed and peeled
4 eggs
freshly-ground black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.
Start the sauce in the next step, and start cooking the pasta when the water boils.
Combine garlic and 4 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat.
Cook the garlic, pressing it into the oil occasionally to release its flavor; it should barely color on both sides.
Remove the garlic, and add the remaining oil.
Fry the eggs gently in the oil, until the whites are still fairly clear and the yolks still quite runny.
Drain the pasta, and toss with the eggs and oil, breaking up the whites as you do. (The eggs will finish cooking in the heat of the pasta.)
Season to taste, and serve immediately, with cheese if you like.

Cartoon by Ben Metcalfe
Spaghetti from Providence Dinner

1 comment:

  1. It's true! The black presidents and the big-scary-world-threatening crises! Rest easy. According to Hollywood, they always solve the problem.