September 11, 2013

Farmers’ Market Pasta

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I like Farmers’ Market Pasta because it's endlessly versatile. The ingredients change every week, depending on what the farmers set out on their trestle tables. At the last Annex market, tempting wares included fatty slabs of smoked Berkshire pork bacon and bunches of green garlic. The latter is young garlic, resembling green onions, with little white bulbs and green stalks. Green garlic is not to be confused with garlic scapes, which look like chives on steroids. You can, however, substitute. (More info in Kitchen Secrets.) I love the thin pasta scrolls that are sometimes labelled maccheroni or skioufichta. The leftover bacon fat I saved for cooking, and the rinds for flavouring soups or stews. Any kind of mushroom will work.

1/2 lb (225 g) small, scroll-shaped pasta
1/2 lb (225 g) fatty slab bacon, rind removed, flesh cut in small dice
1 bunch green garlic (5 stalks), trimmed, white and green parts sliced
1/2 lb (225 g) portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup (50 mL) dry white wine
1 cup (250 mL) grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt + freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated romano cheese to taste

Add pasta to large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook on medium heat until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in 12 inch (30 cm) skillet on medium-high heat, stirring often, until dark brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour out fat and reserve.

Return 1 tbsp (15 mL) fat to skillet. Add green garlic and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms. Sauté until moisture is released and evaporates, and mushrooms start to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in wine and sauté until evaporated. Remove from heat. Add grape tomatoes.

Add pasta to skillet. Drizzle 1 tbsp (15 mL) bacon grease over top. Stir gently to combine. Add salt and pepper (keeping in mind that bacon bits and cheese are salty).

Transfer pasta to serving bowl. Sprinkle bacon bits over top. Serve with romano alongside to sprinkle over pasta.

Makes 4 small servings.

Credit: Susan Sampson
Tested in Imperial