Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Creamy Parmesan & Bacon Pasta {Ready in 15 min.}





The other night, I had a dire dinner dilemma.

I had NO idea what to make! Between loads of laundry, a trip to the park/splash pad, diaper changes, dishes, and weeding the flower beds, dinner plans got pushed to the back of my mind. 5:30 hit, and I was having zero inspiration where the kitchen was concerned. (I'm sure that's never happened to anyone else ever before.)

I decided to get the opinion of the masses: I asked my kids what they wanted, and got the following responses:

1. I don't know,

2. I don't know, and 

3. Cookies

As luck would have it, I was fresh out of, "I don't know," and I wasn't quite to the point of desperation that leads to cookies for dinner.

I contemplated the wonderful world of the internet. Then, I surveyed the contents of my fridge. Quick and simple was sounding awfully good by this point, so I settled on a recipe from Tasty Kitchen, which I altered to fit my needs.

Typically, I'm not a bacon fan. (I know, I know. Calm down... take deep breaths! Sheesh...) I can trace it all back to my 5th grade teacher, Ms. Kohler, and a lesson that involved pigs and tapeworms... but, I want this dish to appeal to you, so I'm not going to expound any further on that.

This pasta was completely delicious! It made me re-think bacon possibilities. (A pretty major feat for this anti-bacon weirdo, mind you.) One of the best parts was that it came together lickety-split in 15 minutes. Who doesn't love a delicious homemade dinner in 15 minutes?!?!

The silky, creamy, sauce (somewhere between carbonara and alfredo) just lightly coats the pasta without overwhelming it, as many white sauces are prone to do. The crisp bacon and salty parmesan add beautifully simple, deep flavor with the freshly-ground black pepper. This pasta dish is best eaten IMMEDIATELY. The sauce, while totally easy to put together, is particular about being eaten right away.

Really, that should be no problem.

I would have liked to have added peas to the entire dish. But, alas, I am one voice in five, and peas typically fall somewhere between dirt and scum on the food chain where my kids are concerned.

Luckily for me, I can add my own peas to my own pasta, thank you very much.

You can alter this to your personal taste: mix the bacon into the sauce instead of crumbling it on top or try adding sauteed onions and bell peppers, or even sauteed mushrooms... maybe some fresh basil or tomatoes or spinach...

Wow...

I might have to make this for lunch.


Creamy Parmesan & Bacon Pasta
Printable Version

*serves 4 adults


INGREDIENTS
1/3 - 1/2 lb. lean bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 oz. ziti, penne, or similar pasta
1/4 cup heavy cream (could sub milk)
2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
*1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/8 tsp. black pepper

*extra grated parmesan to top

DIRECTIONS
Cook bacon as desired. (I like to microwave it on a plate with paper towels. The bacon becomes extra crispy, and the towels soak up all the grease. If you like a little bacon fat, this method is NOT for you.) Crumble, and set aside.

While the bacon is cooking, boil the pasta in salted water until al dente.

While the pasta is boiling, place heavy cream and cream cheese in a small saucepan over low heat until the cream cheese melts, whisking till smooth. Remove from heat and add the parmesan cheese, egg, and pepper. Whisk until well blended.

Drain the hot pasta, (reserving a little of the liquid) and return the pasta to the pot. Immediately add the sauce, and toss to coat. The egg will be cooked by the hot pasta. Add some of the reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce.

Stir in the bacon, or sprinkle on top as desired. Serve hot IMMEDIATELY. (Sauce will lose its silkiness upon standing too long.)

*Optional add-ins: peas, sauteed onions and bell peppers, sauteed mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, basil, or spinach.


7 comments:

  1. Cannot fathom how anyone could not like bacon but I'm glad you were brave and tried it for this dish because it sounds heavenly. Can't wait to try it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is there a way to pin your recipes? I only see a Google+ button. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Scroll to the bottom of the post and you'll see a small "pin it" button. :)

      Delete
  3. I'm excited to try this! Anything that is quick, easy, and tasty is a must try.

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  4. sounds totally amazing and my type of last minute food prep!

    ReplyDelete
  5. "1. I don't know,

    2. I don't know, and

    3. Cookies"

    I laughed :)

    And I gotta say that I love pasta. Almost any kind, but since I'm a vegetarian, I made up a dirt-chip recipe that goes like this:
    Roast some chopped onions on a spoonful of olive oil, add oregano and whatever spices you have available (rosemary, or even pepper) throw in some grated cheese and cooked pasta. Done. Super cheap. If you're feeling luxurious, add tomato puree to onions and cook for 5 minutes.

    ReplyDelete

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