When I saw that the ingredient for Aprils Monthly Ingredient Challenge was bacon, I have to admit, I cringed just a little. Why? Because Ive never had bacon.
Now pick your jaw up off the floor and pop your eyes back into your head, because yes, you read that right- IVE NEVER HAD BACON! EVER!
I realize that bacon is like a food group to many people and its made the crossover from breakfast to dinner, dessert, and beyond, but I for one, have never tried it. You might be surprised to learn that I didnt eat meat until around the time I was in high school and I still have a strong aversion to red meat and pork. Ive never had a hamburger, a hot dog, or as you now know, bacon. In fact Id just assume eat the plate that the burger/hot dog/bacon was served on than the actual food!
Call me a weirdo, tell me what Im missin out on, or whatever you like but Ive been this way for 31 years and I dont see it ever changing! When I posted on Facebook asking you all for tips on cooking bacon, I received lots of great advice (along with plenty of shock and disbelief). A debate ensued about whether to pan fry or oven bake the bacon, but in the end (after much contemplation) I ended up going with the stove top method.
- 6 TBS organic salted butter
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¾ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese, plus more for garnish
- 8 oz smoked turkey bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 bundle fresh asparagus, chopped into small pieces
- 16 oz linguine
- ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped (optional)
- First, melt the butter over medium heat in an extra large saute pan. Continue to stir and swirl the pan until the butter is a nice golden brown color with a toasted aroma. When the butter is browned, add the shallots and garlic and immediately remove from heat. Pour the hot browned butter mixture into a separate boil and stir in the Asiago cheese. Set aside for later.
- Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on the stove, making sure to add plenty of salt (this is for the linguine). Turn the stove on high and bring the water to a rapid boil. Once boiling, add the linguine and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Then scoop the noodles out and place into a bowl, leaving the boiling water on the stove. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water. Do not forget this step!
- Next, steam the asparagus using the remaining boiling pasta water. I use a steamer insert that fits into my large stock pot, but you can do whatever works for you. (You could also blanch the asparagus pieces in the pasta water.)
- Then, once the saute pan has cooled, add the bacon and cook on low heat until the fat renders and the bacon is nice and crispy.
- When the bacon is ready, turn the heat up to medium and add 1 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan. Toss in the linguine noodles and the asparagus. Use tongs to combine everything.
- Then add ½-1 cup of the remaining reserved pasta water to the browned butter mixture, stir, and then pour over the linguine. Use the tongs again to toss everything together and evenly coat the noodles.
- Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and garnish with lots of freshly grated Asiago cheese. Serve warm and enjoy with a good glass of wine!