Tuesday, March 20, 2012

BLT Pasta

The one thing I always seem to have from the garden is Flat Leaf Parsley. You just can't kill the stuff. It grows all winter, and right now (early March) it is about the only thing harvestable from my garden. I always have parsley and have several other recipes that use a tablespoon here or there, but this recipe uses ½ a cup of Flat Leaf Parsley! It is a delicious recipe, I hope you will try it. It would be awesome in the Summer with garden fresh tomatoes.
BLT Pasta the original recipe was found here http://www.letsdishrecipes.com/2011/01/blt-pasta.html.
I made a few adaptations and next time will make a few more, I'll tell you about those in a minute.
As the recipe appeared above:
16 oz. dry pasta
12 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook in a large skillet until crispy. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of drippings in skillet. Cook pasta according to package directions until just al dente; drain. Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes to bacon drippings in skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onions are soft. Stir in chicken broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add cubed cream cheese and stir until cream cheese is melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add pasta, grape tomatoes, bacon and parsley and cook until heated through, about 2 more minutes. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Let's Dish
This was a big hit at my house! Okay, some of my picky eaters removed the tomatoes, but they don't know what they were missing. I love that this dish uses fresh tomatoes in addition to the canned, and the cream cheese adds just a touch of creaminess to the sauce. There isn't any lettuce in this BLT pasta, but let's be honest, that would just be weird. The parsley adds a nice touch of green though. This recipe makes enough to feed a crowd, so if you're feeding less than that, you might want to consider making half. Although, the leftovers are pretty good!

Now, What I did:
Because I have a fairly big crew or big eaters at my house, and because I have a son who could and would live on bacon alone; I cooked more bacon. Due to the amount of bacon and the fact that I like my bacon crisp, I didn't cut it in pieces or cook it in a skillet. I laid it in strips on a cookie sheet and cooked it in a 400 degree oven. When the bacon was crisp I removed it to a plate covered with paper towels to drain and when cool, I crumbled it. The bacon grease on the cookie sheet I then used in my skillet to saute the onions, garlic, and red pepper. I used about twice that much garlic. We like garlic and I always have a ton of it from my garden. Then I used a quart of chicken broth (I like my pasta saucy) and 8 ounces of cream cheese. I also used a large can of diced tomatoes. I didn't add the bacon to the pasta, we served it on top. Like I said, I like my bacon crisp. It was delicious!
What I would do different next time:
I will probably use more garlic and more red pepper. “Tomato haters” live in my house, so I will take the diced tomatoes and blend them. Then I will take the grape tomatoes and saute them briefly in some olive oil and serve on the side along with the bacon. It is best not to add the pasta until just prior to serving to preserve the al dente texture. For leftovers, at our house, there are never any bacon leftovers, so serve leftover pasta with purchased bacon bits instead. Yummy! Hope you enjoy!

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