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Spinach Pasta with Crispy Sunchokes & Bacon

Posted Sep 29 2008 4:23pm
I recently acquired a new cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman, in an effort to expand my family's vegetable options. Bittman's book is a exceptional collection of vegetable recipes. There a wide variety of options throughout the book and it is divided into categories such as salads, soups, dairy, legumes, grain, etc. For example, there are many dishes that can be made with rice, pasta or grains and he provides a chart of a wide variety of dishes that can be combined with them. There are enough recipes in this gem to feed your family everyday for years.

I had some sunchokes languishing in my refrigerator, the last of a big basket that I had bought. I had already cooked a variety of dishes with them, but I was looking for something different. Bittman's book offered a new take on sunchokes to me, by cooking them in a little oil until crispy. In a chart on pasta, he mentioned that the crispy sunchokes would make a wonderful addition to a pasta dish. I was set, I could use up the last of my sunchokes and try out the Tinkyada spinch spaghetti I had purchased.

I started scrubbing the sunchokes following his suggestion not to peel the sunchokes, but to scrub them very well and then slice them. Otherwise you loose too much of the sunchoke trying to peel around all the little knobs. The crisply cooked sunchokes were deliciously sweet and addictive. It's amazing I actually had enough to serve for dinner.

This dish stands on it's own as a satisfying vegetable dinner entree, however I added some crumbled bacon to the dish to round out our dish. To finish off our meal, I served it with a fresh herb salad garnished with radishes and fresh apples. My family was pleasantly surprised at how good this dish tasted and we ended up finishing it all for dinner.

Recipe

3 large sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tb shallot, minced
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
parsley for garnish
GF Spinach Pasta, cooked*
6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

1. Wash the sunchokes well to get the dirt off of them. Then trim off any cracked, dry or hard places. Slice the sunchokes into thin pieces about 1/8" thick. Place them in a colander, rinse them and then pat them dry.

2. Place 2 to 3 tablespoon of the oil into a large skillet and turn the heat on medium. Once the oil is preheated, place the sunchokes into the oil. Spread them out on the bottom of the pan so that they can fry evenly. You will need to do this in several batches. Then sprinkle with ground pepper and salt. Once the sunchokes are cooked, remove them from the skillet and drain them on a paper towel lined plate.

3. Once all the sunchokes are cooked, add a little more olive oil to the pan and lower the heat to medium low. Then cook the shallot for a couple of minutes.

4. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and then dump in the cooked spinach pasta. Gently toss and warm the pasta with the shallots. Return the sunchokes and the crumbled bacon to the pan and continue to warm. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serves 4.

* Spinach Pasta - I used Tinkyada Spinach Spaghetti for this recipe.
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