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
1 pound long cut fusilli or other corkscrew shaped pasta
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.