All you Rachael Ray haters don't know what you are missing! Look how beautiful this pasta dish is! I made this dish for my parents this weekend and they loved it. It has a delicious crunchy topping that I couldn't get enough of. You can use any type of pasta you like, Rachael used Farfalle but I used Rigatoni. It's so easy and it's a spin off of a BLT - Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato. Instead of lettuce the recipe called for Arugula but if that's too spicy or bitter for you, I think spinach would be a fine substitute.
Turns out that due to the excessive cold weather tomatoes are hard to come by so supermarkets are jacking up the price. My mom and I were in shock when we saw a little pint of grape tomatoes was $5! That's double to the usual price. Don't worry, we made it work with canned cherry tomatoes. I never saw them canned before but they were so cute! I added a sprinkle of sugar to the sauce to help sweeten them up and the taste was great! You never would have known that the recipe was altered in any way.
by Rachael Ray
As seen on The Rachael Ray Show.
Serves 4-6 (If you are using Rigatoni, this recipe will only serve 4)
EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
12 slices good quality smoky bacon, cut into half-inch dice
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
A couple of generous handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
A pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 pints cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 pound bowtie pasta
4 cups arugula, a couple of bundles, coarsely chopped
1 cup basil leaves, about 20 leaves, torn or coarsely chopped
Heat a drizzle of EVOO in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add bacon and brown to crisp. Remove to plate to drain. Add Panko crumbs to the pan with the bacon drippings and toast to golden brown. Add parsley and a couple of handfuls of grated cheese. Toss to combine, turn off heat and reserve the crumbs.
Heat 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large skillet with tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook to soften, 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add red pepper and cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and cover pan tightly with lid. Cook, shaking occasionally, until tomatoes begin to burst, about 8 minutes. Remove cover and gently mash up the tomatoes a bit with a wooden spoon.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil for pasta. Salt water and cook bowties to al dente. Just before draining, add a cup of the starchy liquid to the cherry tomato sauce. Drain pasta.Add arugula and basil to the tomato sauce, along with the reserved bacon and drained bowties. Season with black pepper and salt, and toss to combine. Garnish bowls of pasta with the seasoned crumbs and serve.
Click here for a printable version of BLT Pasta.