Farfalle with Fennel, Cherry Tomatoes, Bacon, Peas & Bread Crumbs
My goodness- what an incredibly delicious and simple pasta dish this is! Ready in just about the time it takes to boil the pasta, this is a perfect after-work, quick and easy special that you can always rely on to put a smile in your face and a good feed in your tummy! I love the simplicity of Italian food!
You don't always have to be as basic as "aglio e olio" when it comes to making quick and satisfying pasta dishes... but so many other alternatives are hardly more complicated or harder work to put together- so why not enjoy a bit of a change every now and again?
Armed with a tiny fennel, cherry tomatoes that were tinier still and just a handful of other simple ingredients, I managed to turn a couple of handfuls of farfalle pasta into wonderful evening meal!
My ingredients were: 1/2 of a small bulb of fennel, 1 shallot, 1 cupful of frozen peas, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped bacon, 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs and 7-8 cherry tomatoes- these and a little good olive oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg were all it took ! Frugal, fun and fantastic!
The crispy bread crumbs always make me think of Sicily, the sweet fennel and peas and the salty bacon and Parmesan make for a great contrast of flavor... and the result is a great, balanced dish that has everything you need and more... the only thing you need is about 15 minutes of time to make it!
Start the pasta boiling in plenty of salted water and whilst it is simmering away, quickly toast the 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs in just a drop of olive oil and once they begin to brown, add half of the grated Parmesan. Stir-fry together until golden brown and crispy and set to one side to cool.
Now fry together the bacon with the fennel and shallot cut into a relatively fine dice, in nothing but the bacons own fat. Whilst they are sizzling away, add the peas to the boiling pasta so that they can cook with the pasta for the next 2-3 minutes.
By the time the bacon is beginning to brown and the fennel and shallot are becoming translucent, the farfalle should be nearly done- so drain off most of the water and add them to the frying pan. Add the cherry tomatoes and season with pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Keep stir-frying until the remaining water has all been absorbed and then add half of the bread crumbs, toss... and serve up your beautiful butterflies nice and hot!
Finish with a sprinkle more of bread crumbs, the remaining Parmesan and last bit of fresh pepper, add a light drizzle of olive oil and some of the fennel greens... and thoroughly enjoy!
By cooking with the cherry tomatoes for the last few minutes, the pasta will pick up a nice golden color and a hint of fruity flavor and juiciness to balance the crispy bread crumbs- it's like a carnival of flavors dancing on your tongue!