Posts tagged ‘bacon’
We’ve been trying a variety of new pasta combinations lately, and this one, tossed with roasted butternut squash, wilted spinach, crumbled bacon and parmesan, really won me over. I’ve never cooked with butternut squash before, partly because they are sort of big and intimidating-looking (I didn’t realize we could use up a whole one in one dish), but also because Stephen professes to hate them, along with other orange things like sweet potatoes, yams, and all other winter squashes. It hasn’t ever bothered me that I couldn’t cook these things for Stephen, but when I saw a recipe for pasta with butternut squash that also featured bacon, parmesan, and spinach, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could convert him to embrace the squash.
Fennel is not something that I grew up with, and my natural reaction to it (and all the other foods in its anisey-scented family, for that matter) is love-hate. When I smell fennel cooking, I find it sort of intoxicating, like I just can’t stop smelling it, but I’m not sure if I want to scarf it up or throw it out. For this reason, and since I don’t have a lot of recipes in my repertoire that feature fennel, I have never cooked with fennel myself (although I have purchased it and then wasted it with the intention of doing a kitchen first like three times). But this time, I finally found a recipe that excited me enough to follow through. This pasta was fragrant and spicy without being too much, and it was a welcome change from all those everyday-tasting tomato based pastas I get so tired of. The fennel is braised in a flavorful broth with lemon, red pepper flakes and bacon until it’s tender and mellow, then tossed with pasta and parmesan. It was so good that I’m 100% positive I will never waste a fennel bulb again! In fact, I may go get another one tomorrow.
When I first came across this recipe, I was skeptical about putting a maple syrup sauce on top of my pork chop. But then I started playing a mental game of six-degrees-of-culinary-separation, and I thought well, pork – bacon – pepper bacon – maple bacon…sounds like it could work! Throw in some cider vinegar to complement the pork and tame the sweetness of the maple syrup, some shallots and thyme, and you’ve got yourself something endlessly more delicious than ye old plain-jane pork chops of my youth.
I realized this year that somehow I have never managed to shell fresh peas before. Favas, yes, but never regular shelling peas! I’ve been wanting to get some for quite awhile, but I had trouble finding them when pea season supposedly started, so all my bookmarking of yummy pea recipes was going unused. Perhaps our unseasonable rain in May and June slowed the peas down and kept them out of the markets when I was expecting to find them, but now that it’s almost August and we’re moving on to zucchini, tomatoes, and corn galore, I had pretty much forgotten about the elusive shelling pea!
That is, until I spotted some shelling peas at the market earlier this week. And it just so happened that I was at the market next to the library, so I popped in to see if any of my requested cookbooks had come in, and luckily my long-awaited copy of Sunday Suppers at Lucques had finally arrived. I couldn’t wait to peek inside, so I flipped through the glossy pages and what was the first recipe that caught my eye? A pasta carbonara using freshly shelled peas AND pea shoots! Have I mentioned that I love pea shoots? With the discovery of the shelling peas and then the discovery of the ideal recipe to make use of them happening within ten minutes of each other, I could pretty much only conclude that making this pasta was my destiny.