Sunday, 22 January 2012

Pasta with Bacon & Vegetable Sauce

This recipe comes from Tana Ramsey's recent cookbook, which I picked up on a whim for the bargain price of £3 in one of the discount bookstores.  I really shouldn't have but at that price I just couldn't resist.

I'm welcoming my weak will on this occasion, though, as it is a very nice book with lots of great-sounding recipes suitable for all the family.  This one is the first I've tried so far and on the whole it was a success (my eldest was a bit sniffy about the aubergine).  The best part of the dish for me was the bacon as this one of my favourite things to pair with pasta.  It effortlessly adds bags of flavour and texture.  This is a great everyday pasta recipe that I'll definitely be using again.

Pasta with Bacon & Vegetable Sauce
(adapted from Tana's Kitchen Secrets by Tana Ramsey)

2 tbsp olive oil
150g/5 1/2oz fresh breadcrumbs
50g/1 3/4oz parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp finely chopped basil leaves
400g/14oz spaghetti, or pasta of your choice

For the sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 courgette, cut into half moons
1 small aubergine, diced
8 rashers of smoked bacon, diced
400g can tomatoes
12 button mushrooms, halved
salt and pepper

1) First make the sauce. Put the oil into a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion, chilli (if using) and garlic. Fry gently for 5 minutes, until the onion has softened but not coloured.  Add the courgette, aubergine and bacon and cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and basil and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

2) Bring a large pan of water to the boil ready for the pasta.  Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan over a high heat and toss in the breadcrumbs, stirring constantly until they are toasted a light golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the parmesan and basil. Set aside.

3) Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack. Drain and drizzle over a little oil.

4) Serve the pasta in warmed serving bowls or plates and spoon the sauce over the top, then top with the toasted breadcrumbs and a little more chopped basil.

Serves 4

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