Bacon & Leek Pasta (courtesy of Food Network)
“I made this tonight, and even the kids ate it! Great colors, so appetizing… the leeks added great flavor and texture, and who doesn’t love bacon!” – Jenn L.
12 oz. mezzi rigatoni (or other short pasta)
5 slices (or more!) thick bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 bunch leeks – white and light green parts only; halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, rinsed very well
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
Chopped fresh parsley for topping
Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (I add a drizzle of EVOO to the water so the pasta doesn’t stick together). Add the pasta and cook according to the label. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water; drain pasta.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the skillet.
Add the leeks to the drippings in the skillet. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until it begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Then add the grated parmesan and stir.
Add the pasta to the skillet along with half of the bacon and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat, adding enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen. To serve, top with the remaining bacon, more parmesan and parsley. Enjoy!
Local Recipe of the Week From Twisted Frozen Yogurt, Sudbury
It feels like a game of chicken (and sausage) lately – so let’s try the Chicken Scarpariello – This is the classic Chicken and Sausage dish. There are many ways to make this – so it is about being creative….remember – as long as you have the basics down – you can make it your own by improvising seasonings etc. Try this one – it is easy and very good. For this you need:
Chicken pieces on the bone! Legs and thighs are always best – the dark meat is tender, juicy and moist. Sweet Italian Sausage (you can use hot sausage if you prefer), sweet cherry peppers (you can substitute hot if you like), potatoes, garlic, olive oil, s&p, Italian Herb seasoning, red wine vinegar, white wine, Chicken stock and cut Italian Parsley.
Preheat the Grill
Preheat oven to 475 degrees – In a roasting pan – add in the potatoes (you can slice them, qtr them, cube them – your call) – season with s&p and some of the Italian herb seasoning, drizzle some olive oil and a bit of chicken stock – toss and roast for 25/35 mins….stirring occasionally ..remove.
Wash the chicken and dry with a paper towel. Season with s&p and the Italian herb seasoning.
On Med – hi – Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. When hot – add the chicken pieces skin side down – do not crowd…Cook the chicken until golden brown – careful not to keep turning the pieces – the trick is to let them brown nicely before turning….You should be thinking maybe 4/5 mins before turning….(but watch – as you do not want it to burn). When browned – remove the chicken and place in the roasting pan with the potatoes arranging nicely. –
Next place the sausages on the grill – the trick is to just get the grilled flavor….stay close so that they do not burn….turning as they cook. When done – remove and slice into bite size pieces. Add to the roasting pan.
Now – add the chopped garlic to the frying pan and sauté until golden – do not burn. Next add in the sweet cherry peppers – you can cut these in half and remove the seeds. Sauté. Now add in about ¼ cup of the red wine vinegar – allow it to come to a boil – scrape the sides of the pan to release any of the browned bits. When the vinegar is reduced by half – add in the dry white wine – not chardonnay – maybe like ½ cup or so….bring to a boil and then reduce by half. (no longer than 4 mins max). (if you want a thick sauce – then feel free to add some flour to thicken it up – I do not think you need it – but that is the beauty of cooking – you choose).
Now the chicken stock – about 1 full cup – once it comes to a boil – remove from the heat and pour the whole thing into the roasting pan with the chicken, sausages and potatoes. – Place back in the oven and roast – as it is roasting the sauce and all of the parts will blend nicely. You should only need to keep it in the oven for 15/20 mins….. Remove from the oven – toss in the chopped parsley and serve.
This makes a great dish for a summer cookout. Easy to make a lot of it and present it family style on a nice platter – accompany with a large mixed salad and you are good to go.