Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Bacon

When I started this blog, part of the purpose of it was to keep up with great recipes that I had tried and enjoyed.  I was terrible about trying a recipe, really liking it, but forgetting about it.  So, when I tried this recipe that ran in a fairly recent Martha Stewart Living magazine, I decided I had to blog about it so that I would have a record of the recipe in an easy to find location.  While it is not a fancy-pants recipe and is certainly not difficult, it is satisfying and delicious and makes a wonderful weeknight meal-  definitely worth making over and over. 

This dish is very similar to the Orecchiette with Kale and Bacon that I posted last month, but this version is chock-full of roasted cauliflower and sweet potato.  It does contain bacon, but you could easily leave it out to make a vegetarian version. 

It begins with a few slices of bacon that are crisped up in a skillet.  Some of the drippings are reserved for tossing with the vegetables before they are roasted in the oven.  The vegetables come out perfectly tender and caramelized around the edges.  They are then tossed with the cooked pasta, a little pasta cooking liquid, and some grated parmesan cheese to make a bit of a sauce which lightly coats everything.  The recipe called for parsley, but I had some fresh sage on hand and decided to add a little for more autumn flavor.  The sage was a nice addition, adding a little more oomph to the dish.  

So, if you find yourself with some cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or even other fall veggies such as winter squash (I happen to think some roasted rutabaga would be excellent here as well), consider throwing them all together to make this tasty pasta dish.  

Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Bacon- serves 4
adapted only slightly from Martha Stewart Living 

If you decide to make this without the bacon, simply use more olive oil for tossing the vegetables before roasting.

 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 thick cut slices of bacon, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 2 1/2 cups total)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. orecchiette
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 large sage leaves, sliced into thin ribbons

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Cook the onion until tender and beginning to caramelize.   Remove the onion to a small bowl.  Add the bacon to the same skillet and cook until it is crisp and browned.  Remove the bacon to a plate and reserve the drippings.

Toss the sweet potato and cauliflower with the reserved bacon drippings on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast 20 minutes, toss, and roast 15 minutes more until caramelized around the edges and tender.  

While the vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.  Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.  Drain the pasta.  Place the pasta back in the pot.  Toss with the roasted vegetables, grated cheese, and reserved pasta water.  Stir in the sage.  Sprinkle the bacon on top and sprinkle extra cheese over everything, if desired.

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