(Almost) Meatless Monday

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Some of my best cooking is when I see what is available in the fridge and the pantry and just go at it. Pasta always makes a great canvas for that sort of spontaneous cooking. I was going to cook up some steaks on this beautiful first night of summer, but when I came home from work I discovered that my son had not taken anything from the freezer, as I had asked him to do (kids!). With my wife in New Orleans to help another son get settled back in there, it was myself and my eldest and youngest sons and it was already fairly late…

I did have a quarter pound of bacon in the refrigerator along with some beautiful fresh green beans from Pleasant Valley Farm, a new onion from the same farm, more La Valle cherry tomatoes and some nice Parmiggiano-Reggiano. These would combine to make an outstanding sauce for some pasta. Since this would be a rustic, chunky sauce, I picked out a pasta that would go well – "strascinati" an ear-like pasta similar to orecchiette. The brand I had was an organic, artisanal pasta from Italy, Pasta di Stigliano (500g).  Considering it was just the three of us, we made a pretty good dent into the 1/2 kilo of pasta. It took me about 30 minutes to come up with the plan and make the dinner.

Ingredients:

  • Dried pasta                                                                            500g
  • sliced bacon (cut into 1 inch strips                                           100g
  • small onion sliced very thin with a mandolin                                1
  • La Valle cherry tomatoes (pomodorini di Collina del Vesuvio)       1 sm. can (400g)
  • fresh green beans cut into 1/2 inch segments                           250g
  • fresh grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano                                         250g

Cook the diced bacon in a pan to render the fat and crisp the bacon. As the bacon cooks, add the thinly sliced onions, which had been cut in half before being sliced with a mandolin. Once the bacon crisps and the onion is translucent, start cooking the pasta and add the tomatoes to the pan with the bacon and onion. Add the grated cheese to the sauce and let cook. Once the pasta begins to soften add the greenbeans to the water with the pasta and return to boil for approximately 3 minutes. Reserve several cups of pasta water before draining the pasta and green beans. Add the pasta and greenbeans to the sauce over medium-high heat and mix well until all the pasta is coated with sauce. Add reserved pasta water until pasta is fully cooked, stirring the pasta continuously. Serve hot! Enjoy!


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