The title is a misnomer for me, since I don't have a TV and I didn't eat this for dinner. But it's the type of thing one might eat for a dinner in front of the tube, which is why it appears in the TV dinners chapter of Nigella Bites. She calls it linguine with garlic oil and pancetta. My version uses fettucine and, because I didn't have any garlic-infused oil, just crushed garlic cloves.
This is exactly the kind of dish that appeals to me when I'm eating alone and feeling lazy, but like I need something more heartening than a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Depending on how much oil you use, it can be a little messy to eat, so wear a splatter guard. For the full effect, serve this in a deep Japanese-style bowl that you can hold on your lap. If you do have a TV, watch it while eating this. If not, may I recommend the Britain's Got Talent clips available on YouTube? Have a splatter guard ready for your computer also, and some Kleenex for your eyes.
To make it, peel about six garlic cloves and crush them a bit with a big knife. Put them in a roasting pan or Pyrex dish with around two tablespoons of good-tasting olive oil (I used a lovely Portuguese one that I bought at Charelli's) and around 4 ounces of roughly chopped pancetta. The quantities are completely flexible, of course, and depend on how many you're feeding. I was just feeding my greedy self. Put in the oven at about 450 degrees and set your pasta water to boiling. I found that the amount of time it took for my water to boil and then for the fettucine to cook was exactly how long my pancetta wanted. Your mileage may vary, but the pancetta should be nicely sizzling and crisp-looking.
If your oven dish is large enough, drain the fettucine and plop it into the dish along with a handful of chopped parsley. Mine wasn't, but I used a spatula to get all the tasty bits off the bottom of the dish so I wouldn't lose out on any flavour. Mix well and gobble down. Nigella suggests no parmesan with this and surprisingly, I agree. A good dusting of freshly ground pepper is nice, though.
My favourite part of this was the garlic cloves. They're not for everyone, I suppose, but I thought they were delicious. Not quite as sweet and creamy as roasted garlic, but without the bite of raw garlic, and with a bit of the flavour of the oil infused into the clove, in addition to the the oil taking on the flavour of the garlic. Yum! Of course, use garlic-infused oil if you prefer or even just regular olive oil if you are not a garlic lover.
Thanks to Ruth for hosting Presto Pasta Nights. I have missed the past two weeks but I am back in the pasta-cooking saddle once again.