Pasta Rules. Bacon Rules. Cheese Rules!

Main Course / August 15, 2016

If you’re as old as I am, you probably remember that cool toy the ViewMaster? It was a little binocular shaped toy that allowed you to scroll through a story from an inserted wheel with images. It allowed you view all the images in 3D!! You pushed your finger on a paddle to advance the images that felt life-sized.  It was the precursor to what would become 3D Virtual gaming.

But what if you could do that with food? I found myself thinking that as I plated up this beautiful, cheesy pasta dish. What if I was standing on the edge of this bowl, with a little, tiny lifesaver strapped to my waist, and I had the ability to just swim next to all this color, and flavor and texture? How would it be to wrap my arms around crispy bacon. Or drink the nectar of creamy Jack cheese from a shell?

I’d certainly be sitting next to greatness, just like those beautiful kalamata olives that absolutely rocked the dish. I mean, what would be better than a front row seat of flavor-fabulousness, dipping your toes into the salty broth as though you were a fork with a soul? If I told you there was also a bit of caramelized onions added, would you jump in with me?

The only thing better would be EATING IT with friends. Yes!!!!!

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Cheese, Caramelized Onion and Bacon Pasta with Kalamata Olives

Serves 4-6


Ingredients:

¾ lb thick cut bacon cooked almost crisp
3 C shells pasta uncooked
1 can Campbell’s French Onion Soup
1 pint Kalamata Olives
2/4 lb Monterrey jack cheese
½ t fresh grated nutmeg
4 T butter
2 C 2% milk
3 T flour
Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
1-2 t kosher salt


Direction:

  • Cook the bacon, let it cool, and chop into chunky pieces. Drain the broth off the soup and squeeze all of the moisure off the onions. Set these both aside.Cut the parsley and set aside
  • Bring a pan with 10 C water to boil. Let it simmer so it’s ready to use. While the pasta is cooking, heat butter in a saucepan and add the flour, cook for about 2-3 minutes creating a roux. Add the milk and stir to make sure it’s smooth.
  • Then add the cheese, stirring with a spoon on medium low until it is all melted in and the sauce is thick and silky but not too thick. (Note: if it’s too thick add a bit more milk.) Add the nutmeg and some salt, appx 1 teaspoon, to taste.
  • Ladle the al dente shells into the cheese mixture. No need to drain. Whatever water is dripping off the pasta will create the consistency you want. Stir to combine. Then add the onions from the soup,and the bacon. Stir to combine.
  • When all it hot and steaming, but not bubbling, serve. To peach bowlful of pasta with a little parsley and about 4-5 kalamata olives.
  • Note: You can substitute ham or other salty meal for the bacon. Can leave vegetarian for a side dish.


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