OK first things first — this pasta rocked. It came together super quick, it had awesome flavor, and neither of us could stop eating it. It may not be the healthiest or lightest dinner I’ve ever made, but if you use whole wheat pasta, it’s not so bad. It’s got TWO whole vegetables!
Now, moving on. Remember my concern a few months ago about how my husband couldn’t seem to tell ham from chicken? Well, I am sad to report that this condition has not improved. In fact, I daresay it has worsened considerably.
As we were slurping up this pasta like ravenous dogs, he said the following: “This is really good. What’s in here…[pause added by me for dramatic effect]…CRAB??”
Um. CRAB?? This guy mistook bacon for crab? First of all — I cook with crab maybe twice a year. Every now and then we have some crab cakes, but this is in no way a regular ingredient my kitchen. Second — am I wrong in thinking that bacon is about one million times more delicious than crab? I mean, how does this even happen?
Ugh. I almost feel like I shouldn’t have shared that story with you, because now you’ll be turned off from making this amazing meal because you think it’ll taste like crab. Well, it doesn’t. I am just married to a guy who has…some sort of…weird problem I haven’t yet put my finger on.
BACON RANCH PASTA WITH SPINACH AND TOMATOES (recipe from A Taste of Home Cooking)
1 lb whole wheat rigatoni pasta
8 strips bacon, chopped
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning*
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups half-and-half
6 oz fresh baby spinach
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes (no salt added), undrained
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is crispy and cooked through. Remove bacon from from skillet to paper-towel-lined plate, retaining 1-2 tbsp bacon grease in skillet.
3. With skillet over medium high heat, add onion to bacon grease and saute 3-4 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 second. Add tomatoes, sauteing 1 minute, then add half-and-half (or cream/milk) and bring to boiling. Lower heat to a simmer and add ranch seasoning; stir. Simmer 5-10 minutes, or until slightly thickened and reduced.
4. Add spinach to skillet and stir, allowing it to wilt. Once wilted, add pasta and bacon, tossing to combine. Serve hot.
*For the ranch seasoning, you can either use 1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix, or make your own as follows: 1 tsp dried parsley + 3/4 tsp ground black pepper + 1 tsp seasoned salt + 1/2 tsp garlic powder + 1/4 tsp onion powder + 1/8 tsp dried thyme
So, here’s something embarrassing. As I was finishing up this post, I noticed the url it gave me had a ‘2’ after it. To make a long story short, I realized that I had already made a nearly identical recipe and posted it on the blog almost a year ago. How dumb am I?? So dumb. I almost deleted this post, but I ended up deciding not to…because if I forgot how great this recipe is, then you guys probably did too! So consider this your friendly reminder that this pasta is 100% worth making 🙂