Linguine with Bacon, Onions, Tomatoes and Blue Cheese
The appeal of this pasta recipe comes from the balance of the sweet caramelized flavors of the onions, garlic, bacon and tomatoes and the tangy taste of the blue cheese. Served on a bed of spinach that has been wilted in a little of the bacon drippings, then sprinkled with some extra cheese, this pasta dish makes a complete meal.
- 8 ounces linguine
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, quartered lengthwise
- 4 strips thick cut bacon, cooked, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings (see notes)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese, plus more for garnish
- 10-ounces fresh spinach
Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces, add it to the mixture, and cook another minute or two to blend the flavors.
Add the linguine to the boiling water and start cooking according to package directions.
Add the grape tomatoes and sugar to the onion-garlic mixture and continue cooking until the tomatoes are soft and wrinkled. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid to the mixture and set aside.
Drain the pasta and add it to the onion-garlic-tomato mixture. Add the blue cheese and toss with a pair of tongs to coat the pasta as the cheese melts.
Working quickly, add the reserved bacon drippings to the empty pasta pot and heat on medium high. Add the spinach and cook, tossing continually with tongs, until wilted, about 1-1/2 minutes. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, then divide between serving plates.
Top the plated spinach with the linguine and sprinkle each serving with a bit of crumbled blue cheese. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 or 3 servings
Here's a multitasking tip that will help reduce prep time and cleanup ~ bake the bacon in the oven while your garlic and onions caramelize.
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of the broiler pan with aluminum foil and arrange the bacon slices in a single layer. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until crisp but not dark brown. Time will vary slightly depending on the thickness of your bacon. Remove from the pan with tongs and blot the excess fat with paper towels. Remember to reserve a tablespoon of the drippings for wilting the spinach.