Saturday, September 12, 2009

BLT pasta?

o.k....everyone loves blt sandwiches, right? the combination of tastes....bacon, lettuce and tomatoes....on perfectly toasted bread...a classic. i thought....if it works on toast...why not linguine? (but then again...what doesn't work with pasta?) last night i made something new...BLT pasta....

i had thick cut bacon on hand....and i bought some organic cherry tomatoes and organic spinach at the farmer's market this week without knowing what i was going to do with these ingredients. friday night is usually pasta night at our house...and i felt like something i did some experimenting and....guess what?....BLT pasta really, really works....

regular readers know that my family eats pasta quite a lot...i long ago gave up my "carb phobia".....but i do try to ensure the ratio of vegetables to pasta is at least 50/50. the dish tastes better...and is better for you. so i added a lot of the tomatoes and spinach (yes...i know a true blt has lettuce not spinach....but i took a little bit of creative license here...the BLT was the inspiration...)...enough bacon to make it taste amazing...and some seasonings...and...viola....a delicious dish with only 5 main ingredients...easy, quick, perfect for a friday night?....
one technique that makes this easy-breezy...i oven bake the bacon. have you noticed that bacon has become the "it" ingredient lately? i see bacon in everything...savory dishes, desserts...covered in chocolate....paired with caramel....on ice name it...and everyone is recommending the oven method vs top of stove frying. preparing in the oven is so much easier...and cleaner... this is the method i used for this dish...and i am including the directions...but feel free to fry yours if you long as the bacon is really crunchy, prepare it however you wish.

another suggestion is to follow the quantity listed for spinach. if you are not used to sauteing or wilting greens you will be surprised as how much they cook down....a lot yields a small amount. honestly...i may even increase the quantity the next time i prepare this dish....and yes...i will prepare this is that good...

the 10 oz of spinach in the skillet covering the tomatoes

the spinach after 5 minutes....see the bottom of the pan...and all the tomatoes....illustrates how much volume is lost by wilting....

BLT Pasta
6 oz thick sliced bacon (approx. 5 slices)
12 oz cherry tomatoes*
10 oz baby spinach leaves* thoroughly washed
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb long pasta..such as linguine or fettuccine
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
grey salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp snipped chives*
*if you can...use local sustainably or organically grown ingredients....there really is a difference in taste....
prepare bacon
preheat oven to 400 degrees. line rimmed baking sheet with foil. lay bacon strips directly on top of foil...or you can add a rack to the sheet and place the bacon on top of the rack...frankly, i have prepared the bacon both ways and do not see much of a difference).

bake bacon in preheated oven for 10 minutes. remove from oven, flip slices and return to oven for another 5-10 bacon carefully during the last few goes from cooked to burnt really fast!

remove from oven and place bacon slices on paper towel lined plate. pat extra fat off bacon and allow to cool....tear into bite sized pieces. reserve bacon drippings from baking sheet.

bring large pot of water to rapid boil. add handful of salt and pasta and cook according to package directions. meanwhile, add 1 tbsp bacon drippings and 1 tbsp olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. add tomatoes and saute for 2 minutes. with point of a sharp knife, prick each tomato...this allows the hot steam to escape...cook an additional 2 minutes. add all the spinach to the pan and cover for 1 minute. the spinach will just begin to wilt. stir and continue cooking...this time uncovered. cook 3-5 minutes until spinach has wilted but is still very green. (refer to photo). add red pepper flakes and salt & pepper to taste. when pasta is ready, drain and add to skillet. add bacon and another drizzle of olive oil to pan and combine all ingredients until well mixed. taste and adjust seasonings if needed. sprinkle chives on top of pasta. pass freshly shredded parmigiano-reggiano alongside pasta if desired. do you prepare bacon? and what is your favorite dish using this ingredient?

happy mid-september eveyone!


napa farmhouse 1885
"live a green life of style"

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kellypea said...

One of my flavorite flavor combos. Somehow, when I make carbonara, it ends up more like this. I can't resist!

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi kelly...i know what you mean....i tell myself this way is healthier :)!!

thanks for the comment...


Joan said...

I made the BLT pasta for dinner tonight. It was delicious and my family loved it. This will certainly be a keeper. Thanks Napa!

Apron of the Month Club said...

This is my 1st visit to your blog and you totally got my attention with the BLT noodles. AWESOME combination that my kids will love!

Best Wishes from deep south Texas!
Yoli Kalkofen

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi joan...i am so happy your family enjoyed the dish! thanks for the comment...


Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi yoli...and thank you for your kind words...i am looking forward to getting to know you though your blog...i have a weakness for cool vintage aprons!

pls visit often,

Waverly said...

This looks so delicious. I make the same sauteed spinach and tomato combination all the time and serve it as a side to just about anything. What a great idea to mix it with pasta and bacon. Who doesn't like a BLT?! Thanks!