written by: Rachel Gnagy
After my last post about herb gardens, Leslie asked if I would take pictures of some of the recipes that I shared.
This is such a great recipe. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato is one of those combinations like peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese – they just go together. And when you add some garlic and pasta to the mix… it just gets better.
To start, you will need:
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 package of thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs
- 2 Tablespoons of parsley
- A couple handfuls of Parmesan cheese
- 4 cloves of garlic, grated
- A pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 pints of cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound box of bowtie (farfalle) pasta
- 4 cups green leaf lettuce
- 1 cup fresh basil
Drizzle EVOO in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp.
At first I wondered why you would put oil in a pan that you’re cooking BACON in. I mean, bacon has plenty of grease on its own. But the EVOO seems to keep the bacon from sticking to the pan or getting too crispy.
Put the bacon pieces on a paper towel to drain off excess grease.
Now for the breadcrumbs. I make my own breadcrumbs using bread from my freezer. With just my husband and myself to cook for, I often store our bread in the freezer. If it’s been in there for a while and we haven’t eaten it yet, I toss it in my blender and voilà! Breadcrumbs! I keep a Ziploc bag full of breadcrumbs in the freezer for meals like this one.
Back to the recipe… Add the breadcrumbs to the skillet with the bacon drippings and let them cook until they’re a nice toasty brown.
Add the parsley and Parmesan cheese (Rachael Ray calls for Parmigiano Reggiano, which is AMAZING but expensive. So I usually substitute Parmesan cheese instead).
Stir the crumbs, parsley, and cheese together and set aside.
In a skillet that has a nice tight-fitting lid, heat a couple of tablespoons of EVOO over medium heat.
Add the cherry tomatoes, grated garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then cover the pan with the lid. Let them cook for about 10 minutes, giving the pan a little shake every now and then to keep the tomatoes from sticking. While the tomatoes are cooking, go ahead and start a pot of water for the pasta.
The tomatoes will start to burst and become the base for the yummy pasta sauce.
Wash and pat dry the lettuce and basil. Coarsely chop or tear them into pieces.
After the water for the pasta comes to a boil, add some salt and the pasta. Cook the noodles until they are al dente. Right before you drain the pasta, pour about a cup of the starchy pasta water into the tomato sauce. Drain the rest of the water. Add the lettuce, basil, bacon, and pasta to the sauce and combine.
Top the pasta with the toasted breadcrumbs. Then step back and check out the lovely meal you just made. One thing I love about this recipe is how colorful it is! The basil and lettuce contrast beautifully against the warmer colors of the tomatoes and pasta.