I’ve gotten very into Rachael Ray lately. Girlfriend knows what she’s doing . . . My one complaint? Many of the 30 minute meals I have made are 30 minutes of active time . . . that’s quite challenging when you are home alone with two little kids. Often, making her recipes involves Paige at the hip and Will standing close-by to see what I am up to . . .
Being two and a half, I try to let Will help when he wants to. But that can be a challenge. Sometimes he “forgets” that when I ask him to make the salads, the fixings are supposed to go in the bowl — not his mouth. Other times he wants to taste ingredients (to which I usually acquiesce, as long as it’s safe).
I’ve also found that many of Rachael’s recipes are kid friendly.
Will has liked pretty much everything I have made from her — mac and cheese with broccoli (from the magazine), French dip paninis and the pasta you saw above: Tomato, Bacon, Cheese Pasta . . . This one comes from her 30-Minute Meals book. I made it for the first time a few weeks back in desparation when our fridge was devoid of fresh ingredients save some chicken stock, bacon and a tomato . . .
I do make some changes to the recipe though: I skip the pasta water and just double the amount of chicken broth. I substitute two small diced tomatoes for the grape tomatoes. And the onions? I’ve made it with and without them and prefer without . . . That’s the nice thing about her recipes — they are easy to customize.
- ¾ pound penne
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 bacon slices, chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Black pepper
- sea salt
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 small tomatoes, diced
- ½ ball fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼ inch dice
- ½ tsp dried Italian seasonings
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the pasta. Cook as directed on the package.
- Preheat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the chopped bacon and cook until just starting to brown -- about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red pepper, pepper and salt. Cook, stirring all the time, for 4 minutes. Don't let the garlic brown.
- Add the white wine and stir briskly to get up all the yummy scrapings on the bottom. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook them for an additional minute. Add pasta and stir to coat in the sauce. Let sit for one minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in cheeses and Italian herbs.
- Serve with warm crusty bread.