|Spaghetti with Bacon, Artichokes and Leeks|
So, reaching into my pantry, fridge, and mental recipe box of stuff I'd like to attempt cooking, I settled on a compromise of two recipes I found on Ree Drummand's website. (Thepioneerwoman.com is just plain awesome. As in awe inspiring. As in I am "in awe" of how she runs the website, works on cookbooks, posts recipes everyday, as well as info about farming, gardening, homeschooling, and being a mom of four. She's pretty much my blogging world hero, and I highly recommend you check out her page.) At any rate, she had two recipes, Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatos and Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks, both of which looked delicious, so I kinda stole from one and added to the other to fit my pantry's needs. I've given you the link to the original recipes, since she really deserves the credit for this one, but posted the recipe the way I made it below.
I loved the leek in the recipe but not everyone in my house feels the same way, so if you, like me, are cooking for a Serial Leek Hater, you could use just plain onion, finely chopped in place of the leek. Also, the recipe calls for freshly grated Parmesan. I almost never carry that, because, lets be honest, I'm trying to be frugal. We used the kind that comes out of the cardboard can, and that works just fine (although I'm sure it would be even more amazing fresh). If you're using the stuff from a can you should add some time to let it melt, since the preservatives tend to keep it more in grated form (I'm opting not to think about what that means for me...). Also, regarding the cheese, the original recipe called for one whole cup. I thought that it was a little too parmesean-ish, so I've reduced it. Feel free to start with a little, and add more as you'd like. Its hard to imagine a reality where there is too much cheese, but it exists. And its a sad, gooey place where you can no longer taste the artichokes or the garlic, and you wish you could just take it back. But you can't, my friends, you can't. So start with a 1/2 cup, and add as you go. Better to be careful than sorry.
Spaghetti with Bacon, Artichokes, and Leeks
If you're one of those odd people who don't just keep bacon in your freezer, or you'd rather go vegetarian, then I suppose you could just use a little butter and olive oil to saute up the leeks/onions and garlic.
- 1/2 lb of Bacon or Pancetta
- 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 leeks sliced into coins or ½ of a medium Onion, Finely Diced
- 1 can Artichoke Hearts (14.5 Oz. Quartered Or Whole) Drained AND squeezed
- 1/2 can crushed Tomatoes
- 1 cup milk (cream if you have it)
- ½ cups Chicken Broth (More As Needed)
- Salt And Pepper, to taste
- 1 pound spaghetti (we like whole wheat)
- 1/2 cup + more to taste Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh basil (or Other Herbs) Chopped
Preparation InstructionsCook spaghetti till al dente. Drain and set aside, reserving some of the pasta water for later, in case you need it.
**Start with a big pan, everything is going to end up in the pan, even the pasta!**
Chop up bacon, and render it in a pan, removing the bacon bits to a paper towel and removing most of the bacon fat from the pan. Add onions or leeks and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in milk and chicken broth, add the bacon back in. Add salt and pepper to taste (do not undersalt!) Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat.
Sprinkle Parmesan into big pan, and stir into sauce, to let it melt a bit. Add pasta to the pan, and add basil.
Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems too thick.