Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer Veggie Pasta with Herbs, Bacon and Gorgonzola

It has been quite some time since my last post. We had a 3 week vacation in Michigan and I have been slow to get back to reality! It was wonderful having a break from not only the daily "to do" list, but from technology as well. Our society is overly plugged in these days and as much as I love some of the technologies available today, I noticed that I felt much more relaxed and present without the constant consumption of checking facebook statuses, thinking in blog, reading blogs, and searching, searching, searching for recipes, window treatments, shoes, a diagnosis of weird symptoms, weather conditions, paint colors, decor ideas, hiking trails...sound familiar? 

But now I am back and I am ready to recommit to my blog because I truly believe that sharing healthy recipes, important knowledge about food, and encouraging people to garden is important. In fact, I have 4 friends here in Denver that started a garden this year because of me (and since I'm pretty new here, 4 is a pretty large percentage of my friends!) It is those small influences in life that can make a big impact on the world and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy to know that my passion for cooking and gardening actually inspires others to pick up a spatula or a shovel and literally dig in! Cooking and gardening have become less important to people and I think it is because not only are we way too busy to be bothered by such trivial chores as feeding our families healthy, homemade food, but our country has no food culture. Just about every other culture in this world revolves around the growing and preparation of food and people take real pride in cooking from scratch. So hopefully, in time, we can redefine our generation as the one who took a stand against industrialized food and got back into the kitchen!!!

So this was the recipe that finally got me back to my computer because it was just too good not to share! I am getting more creative and better at cooking without a recipe and one of my favorite types of meals to play around with is pasta! I knew I would be using a ton of veggies and as many of them from the garden as possible. I always use at least 4-5 cloves of garlic in everything I make, but with this pasta, I felt like using even more...8 or 9 seemed about right. I also had 4 pieces of organic bacon leftover from camping and, well, I do have a love affair with bacon so that was a no brainer. I wanted to use a small amount of strong cheese for some flavor. At the store I found an organic, raw milk gorgonzola from Oregon which sounded perfect. I also remembered I had some white wine in the fridge so, why not? And the highlight of the dish is tons of fresh herbs. I went out to the garden and snipped a handful of thyme, oregano, basil, sage, rosemary and parsley. A dash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and viola! Personally, I thought this dish to be restaurant worthy though I might be biased :) Bon Appetite!

Summer Veggie Pasta with Herbs, Bacon and Gorgonzola
serves 6-8

16 oz pasta (I used Tinkyada Brown Rice Spirals)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter or ghee 
1 Tablespoon reserved bacon fat
8-10 cloves of garlic pressed or minced
1 zucchini cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 yellow squash cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion sliced in crescents
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 ears of corn, kernals removed
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup white wine
2 large handfuls spinach,  chopped 
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
4 slices bacon chopped
2-4 ounces gorgonzola crumbled
1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs
juice from 1 lemon

Cook pasta according to directions. While pasta is cooking, cook bacon reserving 1 Tablespoon of fat. Crumble and set aside. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 2 Tablespoons butter to the pan and heat on medium high. Add onions and cook for at least 5 minutes until they begin to brown. Add the remaining vegetables,  and saute for several minutes. Add the white wine and herbs and let simmer until the majority of the liquid has evaporated. Add drained pasta back into the pot, add in the chopped spinach immediately so it can wilt, the vegetable mixture, pasta water, bacon, gorgonzola, pinenuts, and lemon juice and toss to coat. Serve with salt and freshly grated black pepper.

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