September 11, 2013

Farmers’ Market Pasta

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Farmers’ Market Pasta is endlessly versatile. The ingredients change every week, depending on the seasonal goods that farmers set out on their trestle tables. At the last Annex market in my ‘hood, tempting wares included fatty slabs of smoked Berkshire pork bacon, bunches of green garlic and boxes of big mushrooms. For the pasta, I decided on one of my favourites: thin scrolls that are sometimes labelled maccheroni or skioufichta

8 oz (250 g) small, scroll-shaped pasta
8 oz (250 g) fatty slab bacon, rind removed, flesh diced
1 bunch green garlic (5 stalks), white + green parts sliced
8 oz (250 g) portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup (60 mL) dry white wine
1 cup (250 mL) grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated romano cheese to taste

In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta on medium heat 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain.

In 12 inch (30 cm) skillet, cook bacon on medium-high heat, stirring often, 5 minutes, or until dark brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour fat from skillet into small heatproof bowl.

Return 1 tbsp (15 mL) fat to skillet. Add green garlic. Cook, stirring often, on medium heat 2 minutes, or until softened. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, 5 minutes, or until moisture is released and evaporates, and mushrooms start to turn golden. Stir in wine 1 minute, or until evaporated.

Remove from heat. Add grape tomatoes. Add pasta. Drizzle with 1 tbsp (15 mL) bacon fat. Stir gently to combine. Add salt and pepper (keeping in mind that bacon bits and cheese are salty).

Transfer to serving bowl. Scatter bacon bits overtop. Serve with romano alongside to sprinkle over pasta.

Makes 4 small servings.

Waste Not: I save rendered bacon fat for cooking, and leftover bacon rinds for flavouring soup or stew.

G is for Green Garlic: Young garlic, resembling green onions, with little white bulbs and green stalks, is called green garlic. Do not confuse green garlic with garlic scapes, which look like chives on steroids. You can, however, substitute.