Thursday, July 21, 2011
Here is a yummy one I made up for Summer.
BLT Pasta from CL
So the idea here is all the stuff in a BLT sans mayo...which is almost there, but no egg-y things, sorry. You can change the proportions of ingreeds to suit. I tried to come close to my original formula, but it changes every time.
-loaf of 2 day-old bread or plain store-bought croutons
-1 clove garlic chopped
-good olive oil
-1-3 tablespoons of cane sugar
-10-12 strips fave bacon, fried crispy and drained and chopped into 1/2 pieces
-4-5 cups cheery tomats, sliced, or quartered if large, in a bowl...
-baby arugula, spinach, or Maché lettuce, washed and spun (bout enough leaves to fill a medium sized bowl...)
-half a big sweet onion, fine chopped
-4 tblspns fresh thyme
-4 tblspns fresh basil chopped or torn-up
-bout 12-16 oz. of good pesto sauce
-salt and pep
-four good sized lemons, juiced, and the zest of at least one of them.
-1 box dry pasta(organelli, radiatore, farfalle, all are good)
-grana padano, or fresh reggiano parm for grating
-some flat leaf parsley chopped if you wish.
(I ALWAYS take bread that is more than a day old and cut it into cubes for croutons ahead of time, but you can start with plain prepared ones from the store or start using day-old bread, cubed up.)
-The croutons may be prepared ahead of time and will keep in the freezer for up to a month in a zip-lock baggie. Make sure they are properly cooled before packing them in the bag, though or they will turn soft.
-Preheat oven to 300º F.
-Combine lemon juice, thyme, salt & pepper, one clove crushed garlic, tblspn of pesto, tblspn of bacon fat, and toss well with 4-6 cups of bread cubes. Cubes should be slightly moist to the touch after tossing.
-Once all the cubes are coated add one half cup grated parm or padano cheese and toss again.
-Spread mixture in a 9 X 12 baking pan so it is easy to toss during baking and put in oven, turning every 10-12 minutes until croutons are dry and crunchy, but not burned!
-Should take about 40 minutes. (If you are starting with day-old bread it will of course take longer.)
Combine 6 tblspns lemon juice, sugar, salt and pep, garlic, 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, 2 tblspns fresh basil, 2 tblspns olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of melted bacon drippings in a jar and shake well. Dress the tomatoes, toss, and set aside. (Balance the sweet/sour as you like, but don't be afraid to add more sugar or lemon juice as you balance the flavor.) Set aside about 2 tblspns for finishing the dish at the end if you like.
-Simmer the diced onion over low heat until soft in remaining olive oil and 1 tblsp bacon fat in a high-sided sauté pan,set aside. (Pasta will get tossed with the onions and pesto sauce in here before the dish comes together.)
-Cook pasta to "Al Dente", drain, and put in sauté pan to toss with pesto sauce and simmered onion.
Assemble the dish:
-On the large platter, or in a nice yellow bowl, arrange the elements in layers descending in size so you can see each layer. Place the pesto pasta first, then the washed and dried lettuce, the the dressed tomatoes, then the bacon and croutons. Finish with the reserved dressing plus the juice half a lemon just before serving. I usually DON'T do the grated parm shower thing with this dish, but you can put out cheese for your guests.
-Serve with a nice sancerre, pinot grigio, or pouilly fuisse white wine...something a bit tart to complement the bacon etc...
-Can be served warm as a main dish, or at room temp as an antipasto salad....