Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I cook for two. I wish more cookbooks had recipes scaled appropriately for two, but sadly, most accomodate four. And a recipe for a stunning main dish almost always serves six to eight. What about us at our cozy table for two? Don't worry, I'll feed you. How about creamy summer pasta? Mmm!

Creamy Summer Pasta:
1 slice bacon
1 TBSP olive oil
2 handfuls fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2” chunks
1 cup corn (from 2 ears or frozen)
2 cups favorite shape of pasta (I used rigatoni)
¼ cup ricotta cheese
2 oz. creamy goat cheese, crumbled
20 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 TBSP. chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
Dice the bacon relatively small. I find it easier to chop when it’s frozen. Add the bacon to a heavy-bottomed deep skillet. Add the olive oil, and then turn on the heat to medium. Let the bacon slowly render it’s fat into the olive oil. When the bacon is crispy, remove it with a slotted spoon and reserve.
About the time the pasta goes into the water to cook, add the green beans to the skillet. Saute them in the olive oil and bacon fat for a few minutes, adding ¼ tsp. salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cover the skillet and let the beans cook about 5-6 minutes. Test the green beans and see if they are crisp-tender, or to your liking. Add the corn and another ¼ tsp. salt and a few more grinds of black pepper. At this point, I usually turn off the heat and cover the pot. If you don’t cook with cast iron (which holds heat very well), I would recommend turning the heat to low to keep the vegetables warm.
Once the pasta is finished cooking, reserve ½ cup of cooking water before draining. Add the pasta to the skillet with the vegetables. Stir in the ricotta cheese and the pasta water until a creamy consistency is reached. Stir in the fresh basil and chives.
Divide into two plates or shallow bowls. Top each with ½ of the crispy bacon bits and the goat cheese.
*I have to say that I swear by Laura Chenel’s Chevre from Sonoma. I used the plain chevre here, but I’ve been known to polish off an entire chunk of the black pepper chevre. Oooh, that would be good in this recipe too!

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