Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer pasta with corn, tomatoes & bacon

T minus two days until I move into the new apartment and things are a bit... messy.

I feel a bit like I'm living in a maze!  Bobbing and weaving to get from one room to the next.  Thank goodness I'm not a sleep walker :)  The box count is up to 17 so far.  Books, movies, games, and most of my kitchen items are stowed away until they reach their new home.

Even with so many of my tools buried, I was still able to whip up a bright and balanced dinner: summery rainbow pasta!

Chock full of fresh corn, tomatoes, basil, and smokey salty bacon.  This really hit the spot after all that rolling, padding, packing, and lifting! 

The thing that really sent this pasta over the line between "good" and "outstanding" was the repurposing of the bacon drippings.  I was going to use another fat (olive oil) anyway, so why not use the oh-so-flavorful bacon renderings that are ready and waiting in the pan?  You can say I was a model citizen by recycling in my very own home.  Hold your applause, please.

And the tiny little bow tie pasta?  I really need to start buying more small pasta shapes.  Not only are they utterly adorable (and mini!), but it's much easier to measure out appropriate serving sizes.  Do you have a tried and true method for measuring out spaghetti/angel hair/fettuccine?  If so, please share!  It seems that I can never ever cook the correct amount of pasta.  I either have too little or enough to feed a freakin' army.  Whew!

As I was putting the elements of this meal together, I couldn't help but sneak a nibble... or three.  I mean, just look at that!  How could anyone possibly resist such a feast?  Sweet corn!  Ripe juicy tomatoes!  Salt bacon!  And fragrant fresh basil!  Be still my carbohydrate-loving heart.

And I certainly didn't resist.  I served up a heaping bowl of this for myself and, man, was it good!  Sidebar -- isn't pasta so much more satisfying when eaten out of a bowl?!  I think it lends to the comfort food quality of pasta.  Plus, the rim of the bowl seems to keep me from slopping food all over myself.  Sad but true.  But, don't worry.  If you're more refined and prefer your pasta on a plate, it will taste equally delicious.  I promise.  Besides, when has anything with bacon ever not tasted awesome?  That's right.

One thing I will not promise?  That I'll be able to get to my kitchen tonight amidst the stacks of boxes slowly converting my apartment into a small warehouse.  Stay tuned to find out! 

Summery Pasta
-serves 4

A few notes: This is a rough approximation, so feel free to add whatever yummy summer produce you have on hand.  Don't worry if this makes more than you can eat in one sitting -- it stores well in the fridge overnight and, honestly, the flavors improve so leftovers the next day or two are even better than the initial meal!

1/2 pound mini fusilli or other small pasta, cooked and drained
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
8 slices bacon

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat.  Remove slices from pan and drain on a paper towel-lined plate until later.  Reserve 1 to 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in pan.  Add corn and tomatoes and toss and cook over medium until heated through.  Add pasta and toss to combine.  Remove from heat.

Crumble cooled bacon over pasta mixture and add fresh basil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve!

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