Friday, August 14, 2009

Bacon, pesto and roasted red pepper pasta sauce

I harvested a mass of basil from my garden plot the other day, thinking it'd be a nice, simple summer meal over some pasta. Well, here's the thing - I've been out of town for awhile, and my basil plants have grown rather massive. Pesto is delicious if it's made with tender young leaves, but when it's prepared with sun-parched leaves that are nearly palm sized, it becomes the culinary equivalent of a hunchbacked chain-smoking old lady rather than the nubile young maiden one knows and loves. It should be noted, I suppose, that I neglected to add the pine nuts (I really ought to know better by now, but they always seem so gratuitous to me), and my food processor isn't so nimble these days, so the pesto wasn't as smoothly blended as one might like. Also, I only had a one inch cube of parmesan, so I supplemented the cheese with some handfuls of Kraft's pizzeria blend, which also has has asiago, provolone, mozarella. I think that was a nice touch though. My first move in rejuvenating the hag was to slosh in some roasted red peppers, which indeed made a world of difference. Finally, in a burst of genius, as the pasta was cooking I chopped up and fried a few strips of bacon. The improvement was tremendous - the smoky flavors of the bacon mingle beautifully with the sweetness of the pepper and the garlic in the pesto. I decidedly underestimated the amount of bacon that would be appropriate - I used two strips, but really, one ought to use at least 4. I have amended the recipe below to reflect these findings.

Set some salted water boiling.

In a food processor, combine:
1 cup basil leaves*
1/3 cup parmesan
3 cloves garlic
1/4 jar roasted red peppers
a drizzle of olive oil
some salt

Blend into oblivion.

When the water boils, add pasta of your choice.

Chop and fry 4+ slices bacon.

Combine in bowl and eat.

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