Add pasta, basil, garlic and Parmigiano Reggiano to a mix of bacon, arugula and cherry tomatoes for a new taste treat from an old time favorite.
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
- 12 slices good quality smoky bacon, cut into half-inch dice
- 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
- A couple generous handfuls of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
- A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound bowtie pasta
- 4 cups arugula (a couple of bundles), coarsely chopped
- 1 cup fresh basil (about 20 leaves), torn or coarsely chopped
Heat a drizzle of EVOO in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the bacon and brown until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add the panko crumbs to the pan with the bacon drippings and toast until golden brown. Add the parsley and a couple handfuls of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Toss to combine, turn off the heat and reserve the crumbs.
Heat 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large skillet with tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook to soften, 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the red pepper flakes and cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, then cover the pan tightly with the lid. Cook, shaking occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to burst, about 8 minutes. Remove the lid and gently mash up the tomatoes a bit with a wooden spoon.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the bowties to al dente. Just before draining, add a cup of the starchy cooking liquid to the cherry tomato sauce. Drain the pasta.
Add the arugula and basil to the tomato sauce, along with the reserved bacon and drained bowties. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Garnish the bowls of pasta with the seasoned breadcrumbs and serve.