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Bacon, Bourbon and Black Pepper Bow Ties

Serve this dish as a meal on its own with a salad, or serve as a side with simple lamb chops or wilted greens.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound pepper bacon, applewood-smoked, if available
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 small Honeycrisp apple, peeled and chopped (optional)
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 pound whole wheat farfalle
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grano Padano cheese


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and bacon and brown until crisp; remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Add the butter to the pan and melt; reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onions. Season with a little salt, freshly ground black pepper, ground thyme and the bay leaf; cook until light caramel in color, about 15 minutes. Add the apple (if using) and cook for 10 minutes more. Add the bourbon to pan and let it evaporate. Add the stock and remove the bay leaf; reduce the heat to low.

To a pot of boiling water, add salt and cook the pasta to al dente. Add a little bit of the starchy cooking water to the onions and drain the pasta. Add it to the skillet and combine with the bacon and onions; adjust the seasonings and serve topped with cheese.

Rachael Ray