With any luck, our Boomer nest won't be quite so empty soon. Our son Cole is supposed to come home for the holidays. (Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hal-le-lu-jah!).
Since our only child missed Thanksgiving with the family, I'm planning to fix all his favorites while he's home. We'll have Crab Cakes, Stuffed Italian Sandwiches, Pumpkin Bread and more. But if I'm to avoid spending all my time in the kitchen, I also need some quick-and-easy ideas that I KNOW my men will enjoy.
This speedy Penne with Creamy Bacon Sauce from The Golden Book of Pasta (Barron's Educational Series, Inc., October 2012, $29.99) is a great start because:
Bob and I test drove this delicious dish earlier this week. To give it a try, you need penne pasta, bacon (we like Oscar Meyer Center cut because there's less fat), heavy cream, garlic and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
You begin by boiling the penne in salted water according to the package directions. While the pasta cooks, fry the bacon in a large pan until it's crisp.
Although the recipe doesn't mention it, I removed the bacon from the pan when it was done and drained it on a paper towel. I also poured the grease out of the pan before making the sauce. Then I crumbled the bacon, returning it to the same pan, and mixed in the heavy cream, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Four minutes later, you can drain the penne, put it in the pan with the sauce, toss the mixture really well and serve while it is hot. Our tip: Top with freshly ground black pepper and extra Parmesan, if desired.
Bob and I loved this creamy experience. The light sauce accented with garlic and crunchy bits of bacon was perfect. To round out the meal, just add bread and a simple salad. I'm thinking Spinach with Strawberries and Pecans topped with Poppy Seed Dressing.
You can bet I'll be fixing this bacon-infused wonder when Cole comes home. Any dish that tastes this great with so little effort has to be a keeper.
Put a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
Cook the penne in the boiling water until al dente.
Other Works: Tuscany native Carla Bardi's bestselling cookbooks include The Little Big Cook Book: The Bite Size Cook Book That Comes Stuffed with Ideas (Little Big Book of . . . Series) and The Big Book of Baking and Antipasti!: Appetizers the Italian Way (Pane & Vino , Vol 4).
Publisher: Barron's Educational Series; Reprint edition
Penned: Oct. 1, 2012
What's Inside: More than 250 delicious pasta recipes, including quick and easy sauces to serve with store-bought pasta (such as Linguine with Spicy Tomatoes & Olive Sauce), baked classics like ravioli and lasagna, and fresh tagliatelle, pici and other homemade pastas.
So gorgeous it's gift worthy, this one-stop pasta resource also provides a short history of pasta, a picture guide to 80 pasta varieties, and basic cooking and serving tips. Recipes are organized by pasta type (short, long, fresh, stuffed, baked and noodles) and each one includes an appetizing, color photo of the completed dish. Photos are also used to step you through making impressive fresh pasta creations like triangular ravioli. Although mainly devoted to Italian cuisine, the last chapter on noodles incorporates Asian-influenced dishes such as Spicy Chicken Noodles with Peanuts, Five-Spice Pork with Hokkien Noodles, and Beef & Spinach Stir Fry.
Time Out: 608 pages
Available: $29.99 hardcover at Amazon and other retailers
Want another easy meal idea? Try: