My mom loves a BLT sandwich. If she sees a BLT on a menu, she's ordering it. Every.single.time.
The other night, I was wanting a pasta dish for dinner but since it's 100 degrees outside and about 80 inside, the last thing I wanted was something heavy...so I created this little pasta supper that satisfied my need for a pasta dish and something light at the same time. Plus, it tastes like a BLT...I have bacon, lettuce (spinach) and tomatoes as the stars of the show.
This one's for you mom!
1 bulb garlic
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 pound pasta (we use whole wheat penne)
10-12 pieces of bacon, chopped (we used turkey bacon)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups spinach leaves (just grab the kind next to the bagged salads)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
8-10 basil leaves, torn or chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Take your entire bulb of garlic and chop the top off exposing the inside. Drizzle EVOO on top of exposed cloves and sprinkle liberal amounts of salt and pepper on top. Wrap entire bulb in foil and place on a baking sheet in the oven to roast for 30 minutes.
Take another baking sheet (line it with foil for easy clean up) and spread out cherry tomatoes. Drizzle tomatoes with EVOO and sprinkle salt and pepper over all of them. After garlic has been in the oven 30 minutes, open oven door and move the garlic in foil on to the tomato baking sheet (so you only have one baking sheet in the oven now instead of two), continue cooking garlic on tomato baking sheet for an additional 15 minutes. Remove everything from oven.
While the tomatoes and garlic and roasting, bring a large pot of water to boil, drop pasta and cook until al dente (7-8 minutes).
Meanwhile, over medium-high heat, heat a couple of tablespoons of EVOO. Once hot, add in chopped bacon to brown (about 6 minutes). At this point, unwrap the foil from the garlic and remove the roasted cloves with a fork. They will be really tender and smushy. Add in chicken stock and lots of S&P to your bacon pan and de-glaze the pan (scrape up the little bits off the bottom of the pan), lower the heat to medium-low and simmer 3-5 minutes. Stir in your spinach, roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic pieces.
Drain pasta and add to bacon mixture. Stir in cheese and basil.
Ok...do you understand the roasted garlic? Once you start roasting garlic, you won't be able to stop. Roasting your garlic makes the cloves tender and sweet...it really gives your pasta a caramelized flavor that is to die for. The roasted garlic cloves will be extra tender and soft when you pull them from the bulb. Just by adding them to your pasta dish and stirring them in, they'll melt right in and give the pasta loads of flavor. A simple step gives a huge boost of flavor.
Enjoy your BLT a la pasta.