Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pasta Faccia Bella

My husband and I went back to our hometown again this weekend for a friend's wedding. We stayed with my husband's parents, and of course, nobody can leave there without armloads of fresh produce. I've mentioned before how I get the most amazing produce from my mother-in-law, well she outdid herself this time! We got spinach, oranges, beets, carrots, lemon cucumbers, regular cucumbers, raspberries, and of course, tomatoes galore! Oh, we also got a shitload of pumpkins and gourds that they grow in their back yard! Can't wait to display those bad-boys at Thanksgiving!

Pasta Faccia Bella
While deciding on a menu for this week, we figured it would be best to include as many of the veggies that we brought back as possible. I remembered that last week, a friend at work shared her lunch with me, which was a leftover pasta that she made containing collared greens, bacon, onions, and garlic. I decided to use what I had, and the result is Pasta Faccia Bella! For those of you that don't know Italian, "Faccia Bella" means "pretty face," and is often used as a term of endearment. The pasta that resulted from this experiment was so delicious, that I felt actual love for it...like it was a part of mi famiglia...so there ya go.

  • A big bunch of spinach
  • Rotini Pasta
  • 2 slices of bacon (diced)
  • 1/2 onion (sliced very thin)*
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (paper-thin slices)
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • 5 or so tomatoes (diced)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is getting up to temperature, cut down the ugly parts of the spinach stems, and wash the heck out of those leaves. Nobody likes gritty spinach. Add your spinach to the boiling water. I didn't time it, but it was probably like 2-3 minutes. Basically, when your spinach looks done to your liking, use a slotted spoon, and remove it. Put the spinach in a bowl and lightly sprinkle with some salt and pepper - set it aside.

Bring your (now green) water back to a boil, and add your pasta - cook it for as long as your package says. It will probably finish before you are done with the sauce, so just strain it, give it a rinse with cold water, and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or skillet, render your bacon. When it looks nice and crispy, remove it with a slotted spoon.

Add your garlic and onions to your bacon grease. Give them a good long saute until they are very soft, but not browned. There may be bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, and that's ok!

Now throw in a splash of red wine vinegar, and use it to deglaze the pan. After a minute or two, throw your tomatoes in as well as your red pepper flakes. My tomatoes were very ripe, so I didn't cook them for very long. Once the tomatoes start to look soft (but not mushy), take your pan off the heat.

Add your spinach to your sauce, and stir it around. Now add your pasta to the sauce, and really get it combined. Finally, add your crispy bacon bits! Serve with some pecorino romano, and you're done like a duck's dinner!
* My original plan when I went to the store today was to get pancetta for this recipe, but they didn't have any. It came out amazing with bacon, but I'll probably do it with pancetta next time.

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