Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pasta with Fennel, Bacon, Roasted Peppers in Pesto

Makes 4 servings
Total Time: about 45 minutes

Ingredients:
2 bell peppers (whatever colors you'd like)
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
about a cup parsley leaves
about a 1/2 C basil leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4-1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
9 oz dried rotini or penne
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 oz bacon, chopped into pieces
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 C sherry or white wine
1/2 C grated Parmesan

Procedure:
Char the peppers over a flame or broil until charred on all sides. Place the peppers in a paper or plastic bag, close, and let steam for a few minutes while you make the pesto.

In a food processor, add the garlic, shallot, parsley, basil and salt. Pulse until combined and the herbs and aromatics are finely chopped. With the processor running, add enough olive oil to make a thick paste (or whatever consistency you desire. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if you need to.

Take the peppers out of the bag and removed the charred skins, stem and seeds. Slice the peppers thinly.

In a large pot, boil water for the pasta and salt generously. Cook the pasta until it's almost done, then drain (you're going to add it back to the pot later).

In the same pot heat tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Keep two tablespoons of fat in the pan and pour off any excess. Add the fennel and cook until softened. Add the sherry, turn up the heat, and reduce slightly. Return the pasta to the pot, as well as the roasted peppers and about 3 tablespoons of the pesto, or more if desired (reserve the rest for spreading on bread or adding to soup, or whatever you'd like). Lower the heat and cook until everything is warmed. Serve in bowls, topped with the bacon crumbles and grated Parmesan.

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