Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers, Lardons, Caramelized Onions and Baby Spinach

I started out trying to recreate a pasta dish I had a restaurant last week, and I ended up with a bit of a kitchen sink pasta dish to finish up holiday leftovers. I’m happy to report that this version is even better than the one I was trying to recreate. I love the smokiness of the lardons paired with the sweetness of the roasted peppers.

Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers, Lardons, Caramelized Onions and Baby Spinach

2 red bell peppers
6 strips of thick cut bacon, cut into ½ inch strips to make lardons
3 handfuls baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 small onion coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 – 15-oz can tomato sauce
Red pepper flakes
1 – 16 oz bag of whole wheat pasta

Caramelize onions in olive oil until deep brown. Roast red peppers under broiler turning until black and charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Place peppers in a brown paper bag and let sit for 15 minutes. Mix cherry tomatoes, minced garlic, a pinch of sea salt, and a modest glug from your olive oil jar in a small bowl. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, turning them half way through. Set aside. Cook lardons in a skillet over medium-low heat until slightly browned and cooked through; drain and set aside. Peel the charred skin off of the peppers, slice in half and clean out seeds and stems. Dice and set aside. Once onions are caramelized, add the tomato sauce, roasted tomatoes, lardons, and diced peppers to the pot. Season with red pepper flakes and sea salt according to your tastes. Heat sauce over low heat. Meanwhile cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup pasta water. Add pasta to the sauce mixture, tossing to coat. Add pasta water as desired to thin sauce. When thoroughly coated with sauce, add spinach and toss until spinach starts to wilt. Serve immediately.

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