Added by mmustich | Mon 13 Jul 2009 @ 19:53
I love BLTs. When the craving for bacon strikes at dinnertime, this is like a BLT in a bowl. I like the crunch of toasted bread crumbs on pasta dishes with a light garlic-and-oil based sauce such as this one. Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) are larger and lighter—both in color and in density—than the conventional Italian variety. When you put the pasta water on to boil, toast the panko on a baking sheet for 5-10 minutes in a preheated 350° F oven until they are golden brown. Remove the pan to a rack to cool. Then transfer the panko to a small bowl and pass at the table as you would grated Parmigiano.
1-2 tablespoons kosher salt for the pasta water
1 pound bowtie pasta
5 thick slices smoked bacon (about 1/3 pound), cut into 1/2-inch strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/4 cup white wine
1 large bunch rocket, washed, dried, and very coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 cup halved ripe cherry or grape tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
toasted panko (see above)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt. Add the pasta, stir, and bring the water back up to a boil. Cook, uncovered, until the pasta is “al dente.” Carefully remove 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the cooking liquid to a heat-proof measuring cup. Drain the pasta.
2. While the pasta water is coming up to a boil, heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is good and hot add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. As soon as the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the bacon strips. Brown the bacon, pouring off some of the fat as it renders. When the bacon strips are brown remove them to a plate covered with doubled paper towels. Set aside.
3. Pour off the excess bacon fat in the pan and replace it with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and shallots and “sweat” to release their full flavors. Add the white wine, turn the heat up, and bring to a boil to cook off the alcohol in the wine.
4. Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid to the pan. Heat through. Meanwhile, place the hot pasta in a large, heatproof bowl. Pour the contents of the sauté pan over the pasta. Add the tomatoes, bacon, and chopped rocket to the bowl and toss. If the result seems lacking in moisture or luster, add a little more of the cooking liquid and up to 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil to finish the dish. Correct the seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
5. Serve warm, and pass the bowl of freshly toasted panko at the table.