Sunday, October 28, 2012

Orecchiette Pasta with Bacon, Yellow Pear Tomatoes, Pine Nuts & Basil

Yellow pear tomatoes - they're not just for salad anymore...We harvested so many this year from the garden that I was on the verge of chucking the last batch into the compost pile. But, I made one last ditch effort to concoct something other than salad with them, and after scrounging through the pantry and frig, came up with this pasta dish.

1 lb. orecchiette pasta
10 cloves garlic, minced
3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
4 dozen (about 8 cups) yellow pear tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 to 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (to your taste)
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned (2 tbsp. for the sauce, and the rest to stir in/garnish at the end)
1/4 cup pine nuts (or chopped pecans), lightly toasted

1. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the yellow pear tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, sugar, red pepper flakes, and 2 tbsp. chopped basil. Bring heat down to medium and let cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tomatoes are really tender. Adjust seasonings as necessary.

2. In the meantime, heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the pine nuts (do not add any oil to the pan) and toast for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly so that the nuts don't burn. Remove the pine nuts from the pan and set aside.

3. In the same small skillet, add the chopped bacon. Cook over medium high heat or until crispy. Remove and set aside.

4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the orecchiette according to package instructions (should take about 12 minutes). Drain (do not rinse with water) and add the pasta to the sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the pasta and sauce are well incorporated. Stir in the bacon (and drippings, if you want, for extra flavor), toasted pine nuts, and julienned basil. Toss with grated parmesan just before serving and garnish each serving with fresh basil leaves. Serve with extra parmesan on the side.

Yellow pear tomatoes.

Slice the tomatoes in half.

Saute the minced garlic in olive oil.

Stir in tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, pepper flakes and 1/4 cup julienned basil.

Orecchiette pasta. If you can't find these, bow tie pasta will do.

Add the crisped bacon and toasted pine nuts, then stir in parmesan.

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