Monday, October 15, 2012

creamy-tangy-goat-cheesey shells with tatsoi and bacon

For meatless monday?  Okay,  I know, I know.  This can't technically qualify for our meatless monday supper, but we're making an allowance here.  It's bacon, after all, and worthy of the infraction.  We just  made sure to go fully meatless on the other meals.

A couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find a green in my bushel  that I hadn't tried, or even heard of,  before -- tatsoi.  What a gorgeous bundle -- vibrant, deep, dark green, spoon-shaped leaves -- a real treat to see when we opened our box. We were intrigued. The first bunch served us well in salads, but we wanted to try something different with it when it showed up again in Saturday's box.

Remembering we had a lovely farmstead goat cheese, a baby caprino, in the the fridge, as well as a couple of smokey slices of applewood bacon, this pasta dish took shape and came together quickly.

creamy-tangy-goat-cheesey shells with tatsoi and bacon
serves 2-3 servings

8 oz whole wheat pasta shells
1 cup pasta water, divided and reserved
2 slices thick cut bacon, cut into lardons
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon paprika
freshly grated nutmeg
1 bunch tatsoi, leaves coarsely chopped
4 oz (or so)  caprino cheese, cut into cubes
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
olive oil

Boil pasta  to al dente according to package directions.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water.  Drain and set aside.  Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in dutch oven or heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.  Add bacon lardons and cook until crisp.  Remove from pan and allow to drain on paper towels. Add the onion to the pan with the bacon fat and saute for 4-5 minutes.  Use a splash or so as needed of the pasta water to help deglaze the pan.  Add in the grated garlic, paprika, a bit of freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste, and saute one minute more.  Stir in tatsoi and allow to wilt.  Once the tatsoi is wilted and incorporated with the onion mixture, add in the diced goat cheese and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water.  Stir constantly until the cheese fully melts into the sauce.  Add in the cooked pasta and toss to combine.  Stir in the bacon, saving some back for garnish.  Turn your pasta out into a bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper and the remaining bacon lardons.  Dig in!

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