roasted tomatoes

Bacon Parmesan Spaghetti with Asparagus, Corn and Tomatoes

When I saw this recipe on Picky Palate, I had to save it for a later date. It looks simple and delicious. We have a plethora of tomatoes to use, too, so it was high on my “to make” list.

I altered the recipe a little bit. I didn’t have fresh corn on the cob, so I used canned corn.

I also didn’t have fresh asparagus, but I had a can of asparagus spears I used instead. The bacon was already made, so that made the recipe even easier.

 

 

Bacon Parmesan Spaghetti with Asparagus, Corn and Heirloom Tomatoes

1 pound bacon

3 cups baby heirloom tomatoes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound thin spaghetti noodles

1 cup finely diced white onion

1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels

2 1/2 cups asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cook bacon in large Dutch oven or pot until crisped and brown. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain oil. Once cooled, crumble into small pieces. Reserve bacon drippings. Place heirloom tomatoes onto a medium baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until juices start flowing and skin splits.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and run under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.

4. Place 2 tablespoons bacon drippings into a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook stirring until tender, about 5 minutes. Add corn and asparagus, cooking and stirring for 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta, bacon, tomatoes and Parmesan Cheese. Toss gently. Drizzle in 2 additional tablespoons of bacon drippings. Season according to your liking with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve warm.

Makes 8 servings

 

It’s a little higher in calories than I’d normally like in a recipe but that is because of the pasta. It makes me less likely to eat the leftovers for lunch (which is my preference) and instead eat it as a second dinner another night of the week.


I started by roasting my little tomatoes in the oven. Instead of olive oil I used Grapeseed Oil. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and put in them in the oven for about 20 minutes.


They were clearly done:


While the tomatoes were roasting, I chopped up the onions and Michael cooked them in the skillet with the corn and asparagus. We realized immediately that fresh asparagus would have been MUCH better. The canned was kind of gross and disintegrated almost immediately in the skillet.


The pasta was done. We used a mixture of whole wheat spaghetti noodles and whole wheat fettuccine noodles because we didn’t have enough of either. 🙂


I topped the pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese and used a little bit of the oil from the roasted tomatoes to mix into the pasta.


The verdict: I loved the dish. The bacon and tomatoes were excellent together and the corn added a little bit of sweetness to it that was nice. The flavors all worked well together. I was unhappy with the asparagus, but that was my fault using canned.


I would definitely make this dish again if I had a lot of guests over. It makes a lot of food that is filling. Since Michael and I don’t eat a lot of pasta anymore we’re not likely to make it for ourselves much. I’d also use a little more bacon too. This recipe could be altered in lots of creative ways–simply using whatever veggies you have on hand would work well. This would be a great dish to carb-load on the day before a race!

QUESTION:  What’s your favorite pasta dish?

Tuscan Lamb With Tomatoes and Polenta

It’s been awhile since I’ve tried a new recipe. Our diet has been pretty simple all summer long, so there wasn’t a need for recipes. We got some lamb at Trader Joe’s and I wanted to find a new recipe for it. I was really searching for a marinade, but when I saw this recipe I had to try it. It sounded delicious! And I needed the protein after biking 24 miles to and from work on Monday.

Don’t let the word “lamb” scare you off. You can easily substitute the lamb for something else.

 

Tuscan Lamb With Tomatoes and Polenta

 

From Real Simple

Serves 4   |    Hands-on Time: 15m    |    Total Time: 25m

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil

8 small lamb loin chops (about 3/4 inch thick; 2 pounds total)

kosher salt and black pepper

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

3/4 cup instant polenta

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

 

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chops with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

2. Cook the chops until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings.

3. Add the garlic to the drippings and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, wine, rosemary, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Nestle the chops in the tomatoes, transfer the skillet to oven, and cook, 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare.

5. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Cook, whisking frequently, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Whisk in the butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Serve with the chops and tomato sauce.

Tip: Polenta, coarsely ground cornmeal, is an Italian staple. The instant version cooks in less than 5 minutes, versus 45 minutes for regular polenta. In a pinch, you can substitute finely ground cornmeal, though the texture will be slightly different.

Nutritional Information:  Calories 385; Fat 13g;Protein 32g; Carbohydrate 28g; Sugar 5g; Fiber 3g

I didn’t have some of the ingredients—like the polenta—so I had to run to the store first. I didn’t think using the one can I had of diced tomatoes with jalapenos would go with this recipe…I couldn’t find the “instant polenta” but the package I bought had a microwave option. I was skeptical but it was late in the evening and it was the only option.


I followed the microwave instructions and it turned out great! Perfect consistency and everything. I was happy that it worked.


While Michael was searing the lamb, I made us spinach salads with fresh tomatoes from our garden and a little bit of gorgonzola cheese.



The tomato sauce smelled amazing in the skillet—fresh herbs from the garden, garlic and white wine in a bubbling tomato brew. Mmmm.


Fresh rosemary is probably one of my favorite scents.


Michael put the seared lamb into the tomato mixture and then popped it all into the oven to bake. Having a digital meat thermometer is a must. It makes cooking so much easier.


The polenta was done and it had thickened up nicely.


I mixed in some butter and then served it onto plates where Michael put the lamb and tomato sauce on top. We split the one large lamb chop (or was it lamb steak? Not sure the cut of it).


The dinner was delicious. I would definitely make this recipe again. I think it would go well with regular steak, or maybe even chicken too. Polenta is such a versatile food. If you don’t like polenta, or had the polenta in the microwave been a complete disaster, the backup plan was to use couscous. Or maybe even roasted chickpeas.


If I was going to change this recipe in any way, I’d add more tomatoes to the sauce. A lot of the fluids had baked off and I wished there was more sauce on it. Maybe even adding fresh tomatoes from the garden to the canned diced tomatoes would be a nice addition.

The leftovers were wonderful too. I took some leftover polenta and tomato sauce to work on Tuesday for lunch. I reheated it and had a delicious, easy lunch.

This recipe is a keeper!

QUESTION: What is your favorite polenta recipe?