Saturday, July 21, 2012

summer's pasta

I love pasta.  I'm sure I've said that before.  And making your own pasta sauce is really not that much more difficult than opening a jar, provided you have the ingredients on hand.  The best part is that by the time your pasta is cooked, the sauce is done.

During much of the year, I always have a few cans of good diced or whole peeled tomatoes, lentils, and white beans in my cupboard for a quick sauce or lentil soup.   In the summer, I simply go outside: swiss chard, tomatoes, and basil freshly picked from the garden.  Toss it with some olive oil and add some crispy bacon or prosciutto, and you have a fresh, delicious dinner.

It really doesn't get much better than that.  Well.. maybe.

A while back, I heard that in some parts of Italy it is common to serve pasta with potatoes in it.  I don't remember where I heard this or even IF I heard it.  I may very well have dreamt it.  I don't know.  What I do know, is that when getting together my dinner ingredients, I found some red skin potatoes.  And I had bacon in the freezer.

Everything just tastes better with bacon....

I used the bacon grease to cook the potatoes.

Ohh my!

summer's pasta

1 box of pasta
4 slices of bacon, cut into pieces (I had my bacon in the freezer, so I just sawed it from the frozen hunk.  As it turns out, frozen bacon cuts very nicely!)
3-4 red potatoes, chopped into little bits
2-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (I didn't have any garlic for this dish, and although it was delicious, I really missed my garlic)
1-2 c. chopped tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes and large tomatoes, since we had both)
handful of swiss chard, chopped (or any other hearty green like spinach or kale)
small handful of basil, chopped
good olive oil

Put a pot of water to boil.  Meanwhile, heat a skillet on medium high heat and cook the bacon until nice and crispy.  Do not toss the bacon grease- pour it into a mug or other heat proof vessel.  Leave (or add) about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the skillet.  Add the potatoes, spread them so that they are in a thin layer, and cover the skillet with a lid.  Cook, flipping occasionally, until the potatoes are crisp, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, give it all a good stir, and add the swiss chard and basil.  Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the greens are wilted, about 3 minutes more.  Drain the pasta and add to the sauce.  Stir it all together, and finish it off with a drizzle of good olive oil.

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