Tag Archives: bacon

Spaghetti with Bacon, Breadcrumbs and Arugula


Spaghetti with Bacon, Breadcrumbs and Arugula

There are many ways to face the winter doldrums. You know, that time when there is a lull in season and activities. The bang of New Year has passed, and winter lays ahead, blustery, chilly and gray. Call it the post-holiday blues. Or, more optimistically, call it a clean slate. It’s all good. A little down time is healthy for us, offering a window to focus inward and reflect. It’s a priceless moment of stillness before the year accelerates in its usual fashion. Enjoy that moment and its simple pleasures. Listen to the silence of the snowfall, brew a pot of tea, walk the dog. And when you’re cooking, be sure to include bacon. Bacon always helps.

Spaghetti with Bacon and Arugula

Serves 4

12 ounces applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound perciatelli or spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese
3 cups arugula, washed and dried

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté until fat is rendered and bacon is golden brown. Transfer with slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Discard all but one tablespoon fat. Add breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Sauté until breadcrumbs are golden. Transfer to a small bowl.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl.
While pasta is cooking, add one tablespoon olive oil to a clean skillet or saucepan. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add cream and simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, 3-4 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to the cream. Pour cream over pasta. Add bacon, arugula and half of the cheese. Toss to combine. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and remaining cheese over pasta and briefly toss. Serve immediately.

Pasta with Bacon and Brussel Sprouts

Pasta with Bacon and Brussel Sprouts is a match made in heaven – you get to eat your vegetables and have your bacon, too.  It’s a perfect dinner in the autumn season when cool grey weather beckons rich and hearty ingredients. Full of healthy crucifers, studded with crispy bacon and bound with a semi-light sauce of chicken stock and cream, it’s at once rich and fresh.  This recipe is easy and quick to make with ingredients readily available, making it a great candidate for a weeknight meal.
Pasta with Bacon and Brussel Sprouts

For a twist, substitute brussel sprouts with cauliflower or broccoli. Just be sure not to omit the bacon. Serves 4.

1 pound orrechiette or conchiglie pasta

1/2 pound bacon, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 pound brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain; transfer to a large bowl.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until fat is rendered and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Discard all but one tablespoon bacon fat from skillet. Add brussel sprouts and saute until they start to soften. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 1 minutes. Add chicken stock and continue to cook until brussel sprouts are tender. Add cream and simmer until reduced and thickened. Stir in salt and pepper.
Add brussel sprouts and bacon to the pasta. Toss with cheese to combine. Serve with extra cheese on the side.

In Season: Frisée and Escarole Salad with Bacon

Salad Lardons tf

This hearty salad is not bashful. Assertive seasonal greens are tossed with a sharp Dijon vinaigrette, then scattered with crispy lardons (bacon cubes) and croutons. While this salad might easily be the star of an easy weeknight dinner, served with a wedge of runny cheese and a glass of red wine, it’s an appropriately bold accompaniment to a rich and meaty stew such as Beef Bourguignon. And, of course, it’s an excuse to eat more bacon – which, in our home, is always in season.

Lardons Salad tf

Frisée and Escarole Salad with Lardons

Inspired by the French Salade Lyonnaise, which traditionally calls for sautéing the leaves in warm bacon drippings and topping the salad with a poached egg, this version omits the egg and browns the croutons in the bacon fat.

Serves 4

One medium head frisée, ends and outer leaves removed, washed
One half head of escarole, ends and outer leaves removed, washed
6 ounces slab bacon, rind trimmed, cut in 1/4″ cubes
8 or 12 baguette slices, 1/2″ thick
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Place frisée and escarole in a large bowl.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add bacon.  Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy golden. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.  Pour off all of the bacon fat except for one tablespoon.  Return skillet to stovetop.  Add baguette slices in one layer in batches.  Cook over medium heat until golden on both sides, turning once.  Transfer bread to another plate lined with a paper towel.

Combine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Slowly pour in olive oil, whisking constantly to emulsify. Pour dressing over salad leaves and toss to combine.  Arrange salad on serving plates.  Top with bacon and baguette croutons.

Bacon, Broccoli and Tomato Pasta

BBTPasta
~
School is out, and summer holiday has officially begun. With that comes a flurry of activities, children home, impending visitors and finalizing travel plans. For those of us who work at home, the hours during school are necessary to get our tasks done. Now the day flies by in a whirlwind of carpools, playdates, unexpected visitors, doctors appointments, errands. Who has time to cook? The answer to that would normally be someone who has a food blog. But these days, creative cooking just isn’t happening – even in our house. By the time dinner rolls around, the inevitable question: “What’s for dinner?” lingers unanswered in the air. Don’t worry. We’ll get our groove back. In the meantime, it helps to have a few quick dishes in the repertoire, so when the WFD question is posed, there is a handy reply.
~
I call this recipe BBT Pasta. Bacon, Broccoli and Tomato Pasta is quick to make with ingredients readily on hand or easy to purchase. Improvisation is encouraged, so long as you don’t omit the glorious bacon. Try substituting the broccoli with cauliflower. Or omit the broccoli altogether and toss in a generous handful of arugula at the end, which might pass as a BLT Pasta. Any way you choose, this pasta dish is light, flavorful and easy to prepare. Perfect for these hectic early days of summer.
~

Bacon, Broccoli and Tomato Pasta

Serves 4

1 pound long cut fusilli or other corkscrew shaped pasta
Salt
4 slices thick sliced smoked bacon, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 pound broccolini, ends trimmed, cut in 1 inch pieces
1/2 pound grape or cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Fry bacon in a deep skillet until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté briefly until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add broccolini. Sauté until bright green and crisp tender. Add tomatoes, cream, one teaspoon salt and black pepper. Simmer to heat through. Add pasta, bacon and 1/2 cup cheese to skillet; toss to coat. Serve immediately, garnished with remaining cheese.

Note: If using arugula, toss in 2 cups washed and dried arugula with the bacon and cheese.

Frisée and Escarole Salad with Lardons

Salad Lardons tf

Don’t let the simplicity of this rustic salad fool you.  This is one hearty salad that demands respect.  Assertive frisée and escarole leaves are tossed with a sharp Dijon-vinaigrette and scattered with crispy lardons (bacon cubes) and croutons.

Frisée and Escarole Salad with Lardons
This salad is inspired by the french Salade Lyonnaise, which traditionally calls for sautéing the leaves in warm bacon drippings and topping the salad with a poached egg. Here is a lighter version which simply browns the croutons in the bacon fat and omits the egg.

Serves 4.

One medium head frisée, ends and outer leaves removed, washed
One half head of escarole, ends and outer leaves removed, washed
6 oz. (180 g.) slab bacon, rind trimmed, cut in 1/4″ cubes
8-12 baguette slices, 1/2″ thick
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Place frisée and escarole in a large bowl.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add bacon.  Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy golden. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.  Pour off all of the bacon fat except for one tablespoon.  Return skillet to stovetop.  Add baguette slices in one layer in batches.  Cook over medium heat until golden on both sides, turning once.  Transfer bread to another plate lined with a paper towel.

Combine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Slowly pour in olive oil, whisking constantly to emulsify.  Pour dressing over salad leaves.  Toss to combine.  Arrange salad on serving plates.  Top with bacon and baguette croutons.

Bacon, Avocado, Tomato Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Bacon Avocado Tomato Salad

This salad is a vehicle for bacon.  At least that’s how I viewed it when I made it the other day.  In all fairness, it also showcases beautiful sweet Early Girl tomatoes and cool, mild avocadoes. It also presents a light, rustic-style dinner completed by a hunk of piquant Gruyère cheese, Walnut Levain bread and a glass of Côtes du Rhône.  But, really, it’s about the bacon.

Bacon, Tomato, Avocado Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
Serves 4-6

1/2 lb. (250 g.) slab bacon, cut in 1/4″ cubes
6 cups mixed greens (red oak, frisée, arugula), washed
4 small red tomatoes, such as early girl, quartered
1 small red onion, thinly sliced, about 1/2 cup
1 avocado, diced
Dijon Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Prepare salad:
Sauté bacon in a skillet over medium heat until browned and fat is rendered, about 8 minutes.  Transfer bacon to plate lined with paper towel.
Arrange mixed greens in a serving bowl or on individual plates.  Top with tomatoes, onion slices, avocado and bacon.  Drizzle with Dijon Vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Dijon Vinaigrette
(Makes about 1/2 cup)

1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup (80 ml.) extra-virgin olive oil

Prepare vinaigrette:
Mix all the ingredients except the oil in a small bowl.  Pour in the oil in a steady stream, constantly whisking, to emulsify.