Posted by: timscooking | March 26, 2010

Pasta with Bacon and Arugula

Now that Spring has officially arrived, getting outside to prepare the garden for planting takes precedence over planning and making dinner. This is when a well stocked pantry and refrigerator can be a life saver and a pasta dish can be one of the least time-consuming meals to prepare. Such was the case the other day after spending some time pruning roses and cleaning out the flower beds on the side of our house.

When I came in and realized that I hadn’t taken anything out of the freezer, it was time to check out the fridge to see what I could pull together. There were 6 slices of thick cut bacon, a half of a red pepper and a bag of arugula in the crisper. I always have bags and boxes of different pasta shapes on hand so in the time it took to put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta, I was on my way to  dinner.

I cut the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and got those started in a skillet with a little olive oil. The aim was to saute the bacon not crisp it so, when it started to render out and just start to brown, I removed it from the skillet and began sautéing the red pepper and a small onion that I had cut into a small dice in the bacon fat and olive oil. Once the vegetables had begun to soften, I added the bacon to the skillet to continue to cook.

In the meantime, I added 12 ounces of a ridged pasta to the water and just barely undercooked it, drained it and added it to the skillet. I seasoned it with some salt, fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper.  I tossed the pasta, bacon and vegetables together with a half cup of the pasta cooking liquid and then added a large handful of arugula to the pan which I folded into the pasta. The heat of the pasta wilted the arugula and the dish was ready to serve.

The pasta was slightly smoky from the bacon, sweet from the red pepper and onion and peppery from the arugula.

I served the pasta with a simple salad of fresh mozzarella, heirloom cherry tomatoes and basil dressed with red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.

I don’t wish to sound like Rachel Ray but the entire meal took less than 30 minutes to prepare.


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