BLT, or Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato, commonly refers to a sandwich. This week, I made a BLT, but with spaghetti instead of bread.
- Get your spaghetti or other kinda of pasta cooking in a pot of well-salted boiling water. Save a bit of the pasta water, and drain when al dente.
- Slow-cook chunky slices of tomatoes with some butter on a skillet, letting them soften to a pulp. Pinch out and discard the skin at the end.
- Soak a couple of rashers in water for a couple of minutes; this is so that the dish will not be overwhelmed by the flavour of bacon. Fry the rashers till cooked but not shrivelled. It can be tempting to blaze them to a crisp. Resist.
- Meanwhile, wash and cut your lettuce to fork-full pieces.
- When the tomatoes are done, toss in the drained spaghetti, and splash a bit of that pasta water you saved earlier. Season lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and a small dollop of mayonnaise.
- Turn off the heat and mix in the lettuce briefly, and serve, with the rashers of bacon, sliced.
Lush brunches, forever.
I was fortunate enough to be in Rome last month on holiday, or rather, on pilgrimage to the Vatican City and to the art of Michelangelo Buonarotti. But of course, in addition to all the sightseeing, I made time to have a taste of whatever dishes that might be unique to the region. Being in the land of pasta, Pasta Amatriciana is one of them. According to Wikipedia, ‘Amatriciana is a traditional Italian pasta sauce based on guanciale (dried pork cheek), pecorino cheese and tomato, well-known in Roman and Italian cuisine.’
So very basically, I gave it a go with bacon, red onions, tomatoes and Parmesan. Also, I had it with mushroom tortellini as opposed to the usual bucatini.
- Set your pasta boiling away in a pot of salty water.
- With the help of a teaspoon of oil in a hot skillet, render the fat of the bacon out.
- Toss in the minced onions, and sweat it out till almost translucent.
- Add in the tomatoes, together with some passata. Or just add in some chopped tomatoes from a store-bought carton. Add volume to the sauce with pasta-cooking water, if necessary.
- Stir in a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan.
- Drain the cooked pasta and add to the sauce.
- Mix and serve with a grating of more Parmesan.
Chicken and bacon work together all the time.
- Prepare the chicken drumsticks by cleaning up the joint and wrapping the bone with foil if you wanna be fancy. If not, skip this and poach your chicken in salty boiling water till the juices run clear when pierced at the thickest part.
- In a skillet with a little little knob of butter, toss in chopped smoked bacon once the foaming of the butter has subsided.
- When the bacon bits are just about browned, toss in minced onions, sweating them on low heat.
- Toss in the peas once the onions are just about translucent. Let it simmer and remove when done adding a just small amount of the poaching water if its running dry during cooking.
- The chicken should be about done. Let it rest once cooked through.
- Baste it in hot butter till golden.
- Serve with a potato mash or carbs of your preference. I had it with hot steamed basmati.
It’s a bold claim there but check this out:
- Render bacon fat out with butter. Fry bacon.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- Add seafood and let it fry about in the bacon fat for a bit.
- Poach seafood by adding white wine.
- Boil away till alcohol has burned off.
- (If you want heart-palpitations) Add full fat milk and bring to a boil.
- (If you want a cardia arrest) Crack in a beaten egg.
- Then add cream, and reduce the sauce.
- Season accordingly, with salt and pepper.
- Have it with angel-shaped pasta, because it’s the world’s tastiest.
It’s so rich I nearly lost my voice after dinner.
Okay, I exaggerate.
But only slightly.
Anyway, try it today.
I dare you.
Remember Pasta Evolution?
Well, this not for the faint-hearted; it’s incredibly extravagant and unforgivably heart-stopping. Out from the fat rendered from bacon, an Aglio Olio dish is born.
- Same old drill: Set your pasta boiling away in a pot.
- Using a small knob of butter, get the bacon into a skillet.
- Render the fat out before tossing in a generous amount of minced garlic, chilli, dried basil and oregano.
- Toss in sliced pork, which has been marinated with salt and pepper.
- When the pasta is done, drain and add to the skillet. Toss about, coating every strand of spaghetti well.
- Grate Parmesan or Cheddar directly on and mix throughly.
- Serve with fresh basil.
Remember King’s Asparagus? We know from that meal that bacon and asparagus are a match made in heaven. Now, we’re gonna have it with pasta.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 streaks of smoked bacon, cut up into one-inch bits
- 3 large stalks of asparagus, sliced in half lengthways (Don’t be like me and forget to buy asparagus. I used dwarf beans instead. I am ashamed.)
- a quarter of a yellow pepper cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 handfuls of quick-cook penne
- 1 tsp of vegetable oil
- 1 small small knob of butter
- Cheddar, finely grated
- dried basil
- dried oregano
- sea salt, freshly ground
- black pepper, freshly ground
- chilli, minced (optional)
Here’s how you do it:
- Get the pasta cooking in a pot of boiling water.
- In a hot skillet with vegetable oil, toss in the bacon to render the fat out.
- Then, in goes the butter, garlic and asparagus.
- If you like spice, now’s the time to toss in the chilli.
- Fry till bacon browns and asparagus wilts slightly.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies into your kitchen, they’ve missed you sorely.
- Season with basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Drain the pasta and mix it altogether in the skillet.
- Add more salt if necessary.
- Serve with an abundance of shaved Cheddar atop.
If you haven’t heard or seen this before, you must absolutely try it out sometime. Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Fillets will knock your socks off.
Depending on how many you’d like to make, this is what you’ll need for just a humble TWO pieces. But you know you’ll definitely want more.
Two ingredients, two simple steps, for two awesome chunks of meaty goodness.
- 2 streaks of smoked bacon or pancetta.
- 2 fillets of chicken, cut into pieces two inches long
- Put a piece of chicken on one end of a streak of bacon and roll it to the other end.
- Stick it into the top rack of the oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes, flipping it at midpoint.
TIP! If you wanna be a tad more adventurous, sprinkle a dash of thyme, rosemary or basil across each streak of bacon before rolling.
Also, this goes fantastic with a potato mash and gravy. More on that next time.
Baked dishes are a breeze; simply shoving the tray into the oven and waiting for a lush treat is not difficult to do at all. Best part is, you’ll get a crispy layer on top, and succulent parts below. You can bake just about anything – from rice to pasta, vegetable to poultry. But here’s what I did last night:
Dump whatever tickles your fancy into a tray, with the parboiled pasta dumplings. For this, I had a base layer of fresh wild rocket leaves, then a bunch of mushrooms and a couple of white onions, all sliced up. The tortellini of choice was bacon-filled, but if you’re vegetarian, spinach-filled ones works too! After adding the tortellini, I grated a hunk of cheese to cover the top, making sure every inch of that pasta goodness was sitting under a snug blanket of mature cheddar. Drizzled with nuts and chopped rocket, the tray goes into the oven, baked till golden and precious.
Welcome the Aroma Fairies to your kitchen.
Before devouring, more rocket is laid atop, together with a sprinkle of paprika for colour.
Discovered a new way to eat pasta today. No, it doesn’t involve using bare hands to dig in. It’s actually a slightly different kinda sauce from the usual white sauce. Almost like carbonara but less rich and more tasty. I think. Here’s how to make, what I’d like to call, Cheesy Eggy Pasta.
Fry the bacon to render out some of that glistening fat. Then, add a wad of butter together with the mushrooms and peas. Don’t forget some oregano to complete the wholeness of flavour. Let the pasta join in the party when it’s done al dente.
When you’re happy with the way everything looks in the pan, add milk. Just enough to make a sauce. And just before the milk boils, crack in an egg and grate in a hunk of cheese. Now, turn down the heat and mix. Don’t forget the salt and pepper. Parsley, optional.
Finally, get ready to sink your teeth into a marvellous alliance of bacon, egg and cheese, all in your pasta sauce.
Asparagus and Bacon, were made for each other. Due to impatience and negligence, this didn’t turn out quite right for me. Follow the instructions below and I’m sure you’ll get a better result.
The beauty of this dish is that apart from the potato mash, no seasoning is required. I made a mash so that it’ll be a bigger meal. If you exclude the carbohydrate, it’s a breakfast fit for a king.
Here’s how to make your own Asparagus in Bacon & Egg Jacket.
- 3 streaks of bacon, halved lengthways
- 6 stalks of asparagus
- 2 large eggs
Asparagus in Bacon
Using the smoked bacon, wrap the sticks of asparagus. Grill in the oven at 200°C till brown and crispy, flipping them at midpoint. (They looked so good that I got impatient and hungry, so they didn’t make it to the slightly crispy and almost charred stage. I couldn’t do it, but you can.)
There’s a trick to getting them right even though you can’t see what’s going on inside. Stick a pot of water on the hob and get your eggs in. Make sure there’s enough water so that the eggs are completely submerged. Hit the switch to full whack. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and let the eggs soak for about 3 minutes. Flush them briefly with cold water and place them on those little egg holders, or shot-glasses would do. With the ‘sharper’ tip of the eggs pointing downwards, lop the tops off with a knife. Say hello to your golden yolks.
To consume, grab a stick of that pretty asparagus, with your fork or fingers, it doesn’t matter. Dunk it into the soft-boiled eggs and take a bite. Let the incredible nuttiness of asparagus mingle with the smokey aroma of bacon. Pay attention to the lush gooey texture of the egg, holding everything together. And just before you swallow, have a little wad of potato mash join the party.
Feel like a king yet?