Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rustic, Peasant Italian Food with Corn Pasta

Today is another cold, snowy day in the 'Nati with a fresh 6" layer of snow and the temperature not breaking out of the teens today. With my Cooking Skills Development Class/Lab canceled, I decided to stick to my roots and cook up a rustic comfort food with not much stuff in the fridge. I knew exactly what I was making - a hardy pasta dish with a sauce that was rich and flavorful on top of my delicious Le Veneziane corn pasta. The sauce consists of tomatoes, hickory smoked bacon, pinto beans, and onions. Simple, rustic, and satisfying.

Let us start with the sauce. First, warm a little olive oil in a saute pan with 1 small onion finely sliced with 3 strips of hickory smoked bacon, chopped. Saute over medium heat until the onions become transparent and both the onions and bacon start to caramelize. Grind some black pepper in. Add about 1/2 cup of pinto beans with stirring. At this time, throw some corn pasta to boil. I used Le Veneziane Pipe Rigate
. Just look at that beautiful yellow color with a perfect al dente texture. Back to the sauce: add in ~1 cup of tomato pasta sauce (I make from cooking down 1 can tomato sauce + 1 cup drained diced tomatoes + 1 tbs olive oil + garlic + basil + oregano + salt + pepper). Serving suggestion as in picture, but tastes better when it's all mixed together. The pasta catches the beans on the inside with the tomatoes, onions, and hickory smoked bacon on the outside of the pasta. Yum. It did warm me up nicely.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

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