Friday, October 1, 2010

The Classie "B-L-T"....in a pasta????

My GOODNESS the last week or so has been hectic for me!! Between job interviews (nothing yet...I think my age is working against me), a wedding, two highschool girls going to homecoming and shopping for "necessities", two puppies under age 1, etc, etc, etc, I have NOT had much free time to experiment with new recipes. But, I am HAPPY to say I am BACK in the kitchen and "rarin' to go"!! Between finding time to bake a fresh batch of dog biscuit treats and cooking for the family, I have been enjoying having more free time back in the kitchen. Fall is FINALLY in the air down here in Florida, and before we all know it the holidays will be right around the corner. So....I am going to concentrate on "easy meals", holiday special treats, and baking and cooking for gift giving. Any and all contributions will be GREATLY appreciated, so let's have some fun.

This recipe is based on the simple, homey "B-L-T" sandwich. It's a "b-l-t" but in a pasta form. Fun, different and filling. Great with a salad for a nice quick meal.

Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Bucatini (with garlic bread crumbs)

(for the garlic bread crumbs)
1 clove garlic
1 c. Italian bread cubes
1 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste

(for the pasta)
2 strips bacon, diced
1 c. halved grape tomatoes
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 c. thinly sliced leeks (always clean your leeks carefully and rinse WELL--leeks have a tendency to be a "sandy" vegetable, but their mild taste is SO worth the work!!)
1/4 c. dry white wine (chardonnay, chenin blanc, or chablis)
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 ox. dry bucatini pasta or spaghetti
1 c. fresh spinach leaves
1/4 tsp. minced fresh thyme

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Mince garlic for the bread crumbs in a food processor. Add cubed bread and process until coarse.

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add crumbs and toast until golden, 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and set aside

Cook bacon for the pasta in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp (cooking suggestion: whenever a recipe calls for bacon, cooked crisp, my method of choice is to snip the bacon with my kitchen shears directly into the pan and fry accordingly. cuts out that "crumbling" phase later on). Transfer from pan to a paper towel and pour out all but 1 T. of drippings.

Carmelize tomatoes and sugar in drippings over medium heat. Cook until tomatoes begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add leeks, saute until wilted, about 3-4 minutes.

Deglaze skillet with wine, simmer, until liquid is nearly evaporated. Add broth, vinegar and pepper flakes. Simmer until liquid is reduced by a third, about 5 minutes.

Cook bucatini in boiling water according to package directions. Add the spinach, thyme and cooked bacon to the tomato mixture. Trasnfer cooked pasta from cooking water to the skillet using tongs. toss to coat; season with salt. Divid pasta among plates and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Serves 2-3

Today's food quote: "My kitchen is a mystical place, a kind of temple for me. It is a place where the surfaces seem to have significance, where the sounds and odors carry meaning that transfers from the past and bridges to the future." Pearl Bailey

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