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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bacon and Mustard Greens Pasta

We are heading out of town which means I need to use up all the fridge food. Thankfully I have boxes of whole wheat pasta in the house for such occasions; there are few things as versatile and easy as pasta. You can pretty much pull anything out of the fridge or cupboard and pair with pasta from veggies to meat to wine.

In my fridge is a mixture of a few slices of bacon, a few mustard green leaves and a handful of snap peas along with a few onion pieces and a couple of garlic cloves. Sounds like a tasty bowl of pasta just waiting to be tossed!

This is a loose recipe that should be mixed and matched with what you have available, the amounts are just guidelines rather than hard measurements. No mustard greens?  Use Swiss chard instead. No bacon? How about pancetta or sausage? Because pasta is a basic background staple, you flavor it with what you have available- so it's a great way to use up little odds and ends of vegetables and such. Just saute, toss, top with a little cheese and voila- you have a fat and happy meal and a little cleaner fridge to boot!

Tip and Techniques:  Always save a little of the pasta water to add to your final pasta dish, the starchy water helps to create a sauce and gives it structure.

Bacon and Mustard Greens Pasta

1/2 box of whole wheat pasta
4 slices of bacon
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine
4 mustard greens (leaves)
handful of snap peas
handful of cherry tomatoes
2 Tbls fresh thyme
1/4 cup fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Cook whole wheat pasta according to package directions.

In the meantime, cook bacon in a large saute pan until desired crispiness is reached. Remove The bacon from pan and set aside. Add the chopped onions to the bacon pan, cook over medium heat until the onion begins to soften and turn translucent. Add in the chopped garlic, pinch of red pepper flakes and the snap peas, toss well. Continuing to cook over medium heat, add in mustard greens and allow them to wilt. Add the tomatoes last along with salt and pepper and thyme, toss well.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Add the pasta, half of the pasta water and the white wine to the mustard green mixture. Simmer for about 5 minutes to meld all the flavors, add in a little more pasta water if needed for a little sauce. Toss in the bacon and parsley. Dress with a good drizzle of olive oil and the Parmesan cheese, serve with a crusty bread.

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