Springtime Pasta: Penne with Bacon, Asparagus and Bocconcini

I love this time of year!  The weather is fresh and the food seems to only last a short time (if you buy local and seasonal!) so the food just seems that much more “special”!!

So, let’s make as much with this great Ontario food that we can…and let ‘s start with this pasta!  It’s incredibly easy and fast…

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(btw, if you don’t want to use pork products, you can use turkey or chicken bacon and a few squirts of liquid smoke)

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Get your asparagus ready (clean them and snap off the bottom bit).

 

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Get your bocconcini ready (cut them if they are big); set aside

NOTE:  When you are making a pasta dish that doesn’t really have a sauce like this, save the pasta water until you are ready to serve.  It contains starch from your pasta as it cooked and a few spoons of this might be needed to meld the whole dish together (if you feel like it needs extra moisture!)

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Add the pasta and asparagus to the pan with the bacon and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes (just to combine).

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This is best when people are either hanging out around your island and chatting or are really close to the kitchen table (it’s best served straight out of the pan!!).

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If you love cheese, grate an extra bit of parmesan on top!

 

Happy spring, indeed!!

Springtime Pasta: Penne with Bacon, Asparagus and Bocconcini
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Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 4-6
 
Want a quick dish that will get everyone to the table quick? Give this a shot...I promise they'll be a happy bunch indeed!!
Ingredients
  • 1 box pasta (I like Barilla brand or Dececco)
  • Handful of salt
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 small container of bocconcini (if you can find the "pearl", those are great...if not, buy the smallest ones you can find and cut them into smallish pieces)
  • about ½ pkg bacon (about 6 rashers), cut into small pieces *
  • a pinch of hot pepper flakes (optional)
Instructions
  1. Prep your asparagus (cut the stalks into 1-2 " pieces); set aside.
  2. Fill a large pot with cold water and bring to a boil; salt the water (it should taste like the sea!) and add the pasta.
  3. At about the 8 minute mark, add the asparagus and cook until the pasta is al dente (still has a bite).
  4. In a large pan, (and while the pasta is cooking) cook the bacon until it is crisp; drain off most of the fat and set aside.
  5. Add the pasta and asparagus to the pan with the bacon and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes (just to combine).
  6. Add the bocconcini and quickly stir it; turn off the heat and put the cover back on (just so the cheese begins to melt).
  7. In 2 minutes, remove the lid and add a pinch of hot pepper flakes: stir and serve immediately.
 

2 Comments
  • Pat
    May 26, 2015

    I have people coming for lunch and as I don’t know some of them, I think this dish sounds just perfect!

    Thanks too for all the bacon fat ideas…I want to try them all…..

    • Suzie Durigon
      May 26, 2015

      Oh Pat…it is perfect!
      It comes together so quickly and you can even make it while your guests are talking to you (and of course, enjoying a glass of wine!).
      Just remember to save the pasta water because it has the starch that leeches out of the pasta while it’s cooking; it’s like a chef’s gold! When you are finishing off the dish, and you need a bit more moisture, just ladle in a few spoonfuls and it coats the pasta beautifully (much nicer than if you use tap water – it’s even better than chicken stock!).

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