I first cut and fried the bacon--using only 4 slices, this stuff is precious--and after the pieces began to sizzle and a tantalizing aroma filled the kitchen, we added garlic to fry in the rendered fat, another tempting scent layering into the melee. Meanwhile, Andrew created the decadent egg-cheese mixture--a cup or so of dry parmesan, and 3 eggs beaten together to form a bright, thick paste. After draining the pasta--and naturally, retaining some starchy water--and adding it to the fragrant bacon and garlic pan, the cook must strike a delicate balance: ensuring that the pasta is hot enough to meld with the egg-cheese mixture and absorb the pasta water, but not so hot that the egg fries upon contact with the smoldering strings. Creamy, smoky, and sinfully rich, this dish provided a satisfying close to the week--and a start to an active weekend.
I must admit, I’d been planning tonight’s dinner all day. Andrew and I exchanged a couple of anticipatory emails throughout the day, and yesterday’s farmer’s market kale purchase made kale bacon pasta the logical choice. I’d roasted a butternut squash--my favorite fall food--as well, and it seemed like a natural addition. Again, the dish began by frying the bacon slices and removing them from the pot, next browning the garlic in the rendered fat, adding half the kale nearly simultaneously so as to coat the curly leaves with smoky grease. Two cups of chicken stock accompanied the rest of the kale and the sliced roasted squash, the mixture simmering as the pasta cooked. We drained the pasta, and added it to the vibrant, bubbling pot, the chicken stock and vegetable juices infusing the pasta upon its addition. By now, the squash had softened, becoming delicious creamy and coating the pasta as well. We added the crispy bacon bits, stirring and grating parmesan cheese into the pot, its ingredients still melding together over the heat. I don’t give this title lightly, but I think Andrew and I can agree that this was one of the best yet. We certainly have my dad to thank.