This little pasta dish was so darn easy to make that I’m almost embarrassed to tell you about it. Seriously. It took hardly any time, much less skill, at all. But then I realized that it is precisely because of the dish’s simplicity that I had to share it with you. Because if your life is anything like my crazy, hectic one, a simple, mindless pasta recipe in the middle of the week might be just the thing you need to keep you from diving off the deep end and into that big bowl of leftover Halloween candy still sitting on your dining room table. Go on, admit it. I know you’ve been sneaking those little fun size Snickers bars. But, don’t worry. I won’t tell, because I’ve been sneaking them too. And the M & Ms. And the Milk Duds. And the…..well, you get the picture. The point is, that even though this pasta dish contains no chocolate, it’s comforting, satisfying and very tasty. Did I mention that it has bacon in it too?
I threw this dish together one night last week after I realized that I had forgotten to stop at the market on my way home. Since I was already all cozy in my pj’s at the time, and would have preferred sticking bamboo skewers under my fingernails than go out again, I raided my pantry and fridge and decided to make do with whatever I had. Every single ingredient was already lurking in one place or the other. I kind of just put it all together as I went along.
The sauce for this dish can be prepared while the pasta is cooking. For the mathematically challenged, that translates into about ten minutes. How’s that for quick? Of course, you can use any kind of pasta and combination of sauce ingredients you like. If I hadn’t had the bacon or frozen peas, I could have just as easily used something else like ham or broccoli. If you’d rather have a lighter sauce, leave out the cream. That’s the beauty of flying by the seat of your pants. You can do whatever you want. There are no rules to break!
So fly, my little sparrows. FLY!
Creamy Bowties with Bacon, Onion and Peas
1 pound bowtie pasta
4 slices thick-sliced bacon
Olive oil as needed
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 cup frozen sweet peas
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. When boiling, cook pasta until al dente (firm to the bite), about 10 minutes. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. While pasta is cooking, make the sauce.
Cut the bacon into 1/4-inch pieces. Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until just lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave remaining bacon drippings in the skillet and reduce heat to medium. Add onion to the skillet and sauté until soft and tender, about 4 minutes. Add peas and sauté a few minutes more until heated through. If the skillet starts to get dry, add a little olive oil.
Stir in cream and simmer a few minutes until it begins to reduce and thicken.
Add cooked, drained pasta and bacon to the skillet and toss gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated and pasta is coated with the sauce. If the dish seems dry, add in some of the pasta water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and drizzle in a little more olive oil and the butter. Swirl until butter is melted. Sprinkle on some gated cheese and serve.
Serves 3 as a main dish, and 6 as a side.