We just got back from a lovely vacation in Isle of Palms, SC (near Charleston). Saturday was a L.O.N.G. day of driving~ we were in the car from 9am-8:45pm… (3 stops, plus 2 pull off diaper stops)….ugh. So, Sunday we made an executive decision to stay inside and recuperate! Unfortunately we had no food to speak of in our house. Enter garden. Most everything in my garden is done for the year (cucumbers & zucchini plants produced a lot of fruit early on but later got eaten by evil mexican bug beatles, boo). Tomatoes & basil are two of the only things left!!
I decided to whip up a fresh tomato basil pasta with a twist, bacon & brown butter. YUM.
The acid from the sauce balances wonderfully with the richness from the brown butter and the saltiness and crunch from the bacon. This “thrown together meal” is DEFINITELY something I’ll make again. Roasting the tomatoes brought out the sweetness in the sauce (plus I tossed in a pinch of sugar 🙂 ).
Today we’re back to the grind. Although, sweet Pax didn’t get that memo. He, for whatever reason, was up at 2, 4, and 6 am this morning. UGH. It’s going to be a long day!! Now if he’d only wake up again so I can take him to the sitters 🙂 Boys. They have a mind of their own!
- 15-20 small tomatoes
- 10 large leaves basil
- 1/2 package spaghetti noodles
- 4-6 pieces if bacon
- 3 tbsp butter
- Pinch of sugar
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425
First, prepare tomatoes. Wash and pat tomatoes dry. Toss in a few tsp olive oil and put on a sheet pan.
Next, prepare bacon. Layer aluminum foil over a sheet pan, then put a cooling rack on top. Place slices of bacon on wire cooling rack. OR use a broiling pan 🙂 same principle.
When oven is preheated, put tomatoes and bacon in oven. I put the tomatoes on top and the bacon on bottom. Check tomatoes at around 20 minutes; most should have burst. Pull out of oven.
Cook bacon up to five more minutes (25 min total). You want it crispy but not burnt.
While the food is roasting, boil the noodles in one pan and make the brown the butter** in another. When butter is brown, distribute evenly between 2 dinner bowls. Wipe out pan and use it to make the tomato sauce.
Combine the (mostly) burst tomatoes with 1/2 of the basil leaves that have been sliced thinly. Add in salt and pepper to taste. I also tossed in a pinch of sugar. Use a kitchen utensil (eg wooden spoon) to burst remaining tomatoes. Simmer till pasta is done (5-10 min).
Drain pasta and put it back in the hot pot to soak up all the liquid. Then toss on top of the brown butter in the dinner bowls. Stir to combine. Then Top with tomatoes, remaining fresh basil, and crumbled bacon. You can also toss in some Parmesan cheese. 🙂 I have to admit, we did this after the photo… b/c I only had powdered parm cheese, which, let’s be honest, is not super attractive in photos. Some nice shaved pieces of parm would be lovely in this dish!!
Steve and I both took a bite and said “wow”~ neither of us expected it to be as good as it was. The balance and contrast of flavors was just so darn yummy!! Anyway, on to the real work of the day!
**To make Brown butter:
In a light colored saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. You’ll need to tend to this as it melts. Do not walk away b/c it can burn in an instant. I stood over it the whole time, whisking the mixture as it melted. Keep whisking as the butter starts to foam. The color will start to look yellowish and then tan. When it turns a light brown color~ remove from heat.
There will be some blackish colored sediment that falls to the bottom of the pan. Don’t freak out, this is normal (I thought I burned it!). The butter is done when you smell the nutty, toasty aroma. I chose to leave the specks in, but some choose to strain them out. The mixture will continue to cook in the pan for a minute or so unless you shock the bottom of the pan with color water, OR pour the brown butter into another dish (which is what I did).