Monday, July 16, 2012

Getting Fresh With You

Fabulously Fast Summer Pasta
There is just so much good produce at my disposal right now! The tomatoes are red and ripe, the arugula is perfectly crisp and peppery, and the garlic is fragrantly sweet. During these warmer months I love abandoning my beloved cheesy-creamy sauces for fresher, lighter ingredients in my pastas. This extremely quick and easy dinner was put together using the bright and fresh ingredients from the co-op. It comes together in a snap and is a tasty way to make the most of summer's bounty.

- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 oz. small-shaped pasta
- 2 c. fresh arugula
- 4 slices, thick cut bacon, diced
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- juice from 1 lemon
- 8 large fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin strips
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. cooking sherry
- salt and pepper
- 3 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Drain, reserving about a cup of the pasta cooking water, and set aside. While waiting for the water to boil, make the quick tomato sauce.

Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium high until it becomes slightly brown and has rendered most of its fatty goodness. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve about a tablespoonful of bacon fat in the pan. Add olive oil and heat to medium high.

Add garlic to pan and stir for about 30 seconds until it becomes sweet and fragrant. Add cooking sherry to hot skillet to de-glaze the pan. Stir vigorously, scraping brown bits from the bottom. Add halved tomatoes and lemon juice to the skillet and turn heat down to medium. Stir occasionally until the tomatoes begin to wither and soften. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until the tomatoes have burst.

Add cooked pasta, arugula, basil, and pasta water to the tomato mixture. Toss together and heat over medium high for about 1-2 minutes until ingredients are thoroughly cooked through and hot. Transfer cooked pasta to a large serving bowl and sprinkle with cooked bacon and crumbled feta cheese. Toss to combine thoroughly. Eat!

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