Mister’s grandma has been in the hospital this week which means his parents have spent their time there, too. They live fairly close to us so we try to take them dinner now and then (especially when we know they’re tied up and busy with other things like taking care of Nana). Mister decided that they needed a hearty pasta dish this week and this was his idea. It’s a pretty quick and easy dish that’s hearty and tasty. It makes your house smell delightful, too!
The original recipe came from an insert in Food Network Magazine on 50 things to cook with bacon. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit to match our tastes. Don’t be afraid to adjust it to your liking.
1 lb bacon chopped
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, washed
1 red onion, chopped
1-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup half-and-half (possibly more)
1/4 parmesan cheese plus more for sprinkling – the real stuff, not the crap in the green can (which has its place but not in this dish)
1 lb pasta (I prefer mini penne or a heartier pasta like cavatappi – small and fragile pasta tends to turn to mush)
1 package baby spinach
- Cook bacon in a large frying pan (I use my chicken fryer) stirring frequently until all the bacon is well browned.
- Remove bacon from pan and drain. Reserve 2 or 3 Tbs of bacon grease in pan.
- Sautee onions and garlic in the same pan over medium heat until translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add washed tomatoes and stir. Cook approximately 10-12 minutes until tomatoes soften and skins begin to split.
- While cooking tomatoes, cook and drain pasta.
- When tomatoes are done, add the drained bacon and half-and-half to the tomatoes and onions. Stir.
- Simmer 3 minutes.
- Add pasta to the sauce and stir. Add parmesan and stir.
- If pasta is dry, add half-and-half a little at a time until it’s perfect. The pasta shouldn’t be dry but there shouldn’t be a puddle of half-and-half, either.
- Put a handful of spinach in each bowl. Top with hot pasta and sauce. Stir to wilt spinach, top with another sprinkle of parmesan and serve immediately.
**If you add spinach to the entire recipe, it will get overheated and slimy. I prefer to add it as we eat it.
Mister loves to eat this pasta cold out of the fridge. I prefer it hot but I won’t lie, as much as cold pasta makes me shudder, this one is pretty good. It warms up well, too. Double the batch and count on leftovers!