Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bacon . . . What Can't It Do?

Autumn Chicken Carbonara

Here's one of my secrets of cooking- much of my inspiration comes from whatever is lying around in the refrigerator. In the case of this recipe, I happened to have four pieces of bacon and a pound of colorful and ripe heirloom tomatoes destined for something. BLTs? A nice idea, but I was (as I often am) in the mood for pasta and the presence of eggs and Parmesan cheese really got the wheels turning in my brain. A quick trip to Trader Joe's for pasta, Italian parsley, and two chicken breasts and a new recipe was born. I am a fan of one pot meals AND bacon, I hope you enjoy this fast, cheap, colorful meal as much as I did.


- 1 lb. penne pasta
- two boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1" chunks
- olive oil
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 lb. heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1" chunks
- 1 handful chopped Italian parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- a pinch of sugar

Boil pasta according to package directions to al dente (about 9 minutes) reserving 1/2 c. pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, place diced bacon in a large Dutch oven. Cook over medium until cooked through, but not too crispy. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Reserve rendered bacon fat in Dutch oven and add onion and garlic. Cook over medium, stirring often until onions start to become translucent. If Dutch oven becomes dry, add a little olive oil. Add chicken to pot and cook over heat until meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from heat.

Place beaten eggs in a medium bowl, slowly add 1/4 c. warm pasta cooking water to temper the eggs, beat in Parmesan cheese. Place warm pasta in the Dutch oven with chicken and onions, stir to combine, slowly add the egg and cheese mixture to the pasta. Stir to combine. The warm pasta will cook the egg mixture. Add tomatoes, parsley, bacon, and a pinch of sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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