Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life's a Beach BLT Pasta

This weekend we traipsed across the state in our swagger wagon to spend some time with my husband's family, and celebrate our Uncle's installation as Commander of the Oregon VFW, at the coast. In order to shore up the costs, we all signed up for a meal and we ate at the beach house instead of ordering out or going to restaurants. I was going to make my old stand-by of Inside Out Manicotti when I ran across a recipe for BLT Pasta. I can't find the original one that sparked my interest, but I found several others online and they were all pretty much the same. How much easier can you get? Boil a pound (or two in our case of feeding a lot of people) rigatoni or another curly or ridged pasta so the bacon drippings have something to stick to, drain and rinse with cold water then place in a large bowl.

In a skillet cook 12 slices of bacon until crispy, then remove the bacon to drain and spoon all of the drippings save for one tablespoon into a small bowl and set aside. Even though I doubled the amount of pasta, greens and tomatoes, I kept the amount of bacon the same.

In that same skillet, place two heaping handfuls of chopped arugula, chard or another crisp and sturdy green and wilt it. Some have suggested spinach, but spinach has such a distinct flavor that's not a pepper green that I think it would make it a whole other dish and not the same as a BLT.

Remove greens from skillet and add to the pasta bowl. Then, reusing the same skillet, add one to two pints of cherry or grape tomatoes (it said to quarter them, but I left them whole and cooked them until they burst a little bit) along with a tablespoon of the reserved drippings. Toss the heated tomatoes into the pasta bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper, adding enough of the bacon drippings that the pasta isn't dry. In my case, with two pounds of pasta, I used almost all of the rendered fat.

For the first time making it, it was fine. I think next time I'd use more pepper, maybe a little bit of fresh basil, and definitely would crumble some feta or chevre over the top, or you could even add in some little pearls of mozzarella, but I think the salty creaminess of feta or chevre would be better.

For an easy, summer evening dinner that's a classic with a twist, you should give this a shot. It's definitely one of those that you make to recipe the first time, then tweak it to make it your own. I just wanted to keep it as close to the simplicity of a BLT as possible, but without the creaminess of mayo on you bread, the cheese may just be the ticket to making it closer to the flavor and texture balance.

1 comment:

Crafty Mama said...

totally going to make this with the feta. Thanks!