Why hello, friends.
I’m so pleased to share with you that yesterday our little baby boy Quincy turned 4!!!!
I remember when Q was just a little pup who always threw up in the car without fail, was absolutely terrified of his crate, and was way too scared to jump up on the bed by himself. Now, 4 years later, he’s just a little snuggle muffin who takes every opportunity he can to jump up on the bed – particularly when I’m making it – loves car rides except that he sits backwards like a weirdo, and is STILL absolutely terrified of the crate. Ha. *sigh* Time goes by so fast. I’m sure it will go even faster once this little munchkin arrives.
In honor of my Quincy’s birthday, every year, I make him bacon.
Because he’s a puppy and puppies love bacon. Duh!
Who DOESN’T love bacon?
Check out Quincy’s “You makin’ me bacon?!” face. Don’t you just want to snuggle him?!
Now of course, that whole pan of bacon wasn’t just for puppy. What kind of Mom would I be if I let him eat ALL of that bacon all by himself?! No, no no. Quincy got a little puppy sized plateful. The rest was utilized in what is one of the most delicious and simple (though absolutely not even close to the healthiest) recipes I have ever come up with. I came up with it a while back when my pantry was looking pretty bare but I wanted something delicious.
The ingredients required are pretty minimal, you’re likely to have them all on hand already. I’d say this dish is nice paired with a lite salad…but who am I kidding…I just eat two bowlfuls of this instead. Life’s about balance, remember. Just don’t eat this every day and you’ll be fine…I promise!
Spicy Bacon Rigatoni
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta
- Anywhere between 6 and 12 slices of bacon (depends on how healthy you want to be, really)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 of a small red onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup white wine or chicken stock
- 1 cup baby spinach, chopped (gotta try and get those veggies in where ya can, right)
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for sprinkling on top)
- A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until just shy of al dente – about 1 minute shy – as it will finish cooking in the sauce. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
While the pasta is cooking, chop your bacon into bite sized pieces and cook them in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels.
Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Let saute until fragrant and the onions and garlic begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine (or chicken stock) and let reduce for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, spinach, and garlic powder. Stir well to combine and cook until the spinach is wilted. Reduce the heat to low.
Drain the pasta and add it immediately to the sauce. Add the Parmesan and a splash of the reserved pasta water and toss well to combine. If the pasta seems a bit dry or stiff, add some more of the pasta water to reach your desired consistency. Remove from heat and add the bacon and basil and toss until just combined.
Serve immediately topped with more Parmesan in gigantic bowls so that you can eat as much as possible of this in one sitting because it’s so effing delicious.
Behold spicy, garlicy, cheesy, bacony perfection.