If you love BLT sandwiches and pasta, this week’s recipe is for you. I’ve taken most of the components of the classic sandwich and turned it into a quick and easy main dish pasta that’s perfect for a busy weeknight.
The one sticking point when coming up with a BLT pasta recipe was the lettuce. I just didn’t like the combination of hot pasta with cold lettuce, so I’m using chopped fresh parsley instead, adding vibrant color and flavor.
I’ve seen many BLT pasta recipes that call for arugula. I love arugula’s peppery bite in salads or sautéed, but I’m the only one in my family who does, so that ruled it out. If your family loves arugula, add a few cups of fresh baby arugula to the sauce when you sauté the tomatoes.
When making the recipe, I cook the bowtie pasta and reserve a cup of the pasta water. This is a step in many classic Italian pasta recipes. The reserved starchy water is added at the end to get the sauce to the perfect consistency.
The cooked pasta is tossed with the sautéed tomatoes, along with the chopped fresh parsley and basil and a little reduced-fat mayonnaise and sour cream. Toss to coat, then add some of the reserved water, if needed. The last step is folding in the crumbled bacon.
Spoon the pasta into pasta bowls and top each serving with a little grated sharp cheddar or Parmesan cheese. Some crusty bread and a fruit salad from the produce section can complete your menu.
½ 16-ounce box bowtie or other pasta
12 slices bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic, about 1 large clove
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups diced ripe tomatoes
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup regular or reduced-fat mayonnaise
¼ cup regular or reduced-fat sour cream
Shredded sharp cheddar or Parmesan cheese, for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Remove 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Set aside.
While the pasta cooks, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When crisp, remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Crumble and set aside.
Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pan. Add the olive oil and heat over medium until shimmering. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.
Return the pasta to the pot and pour the sautéed tomatoes over the top. Stir in the parsley, basil, mayonnaise and sour cream. Toss to coat pasta well. Add some of the reserved pasta water if needed to make it moist. Fold in the bacon. Spoon into bowls and top with cheese. Makes 4 servings.