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The Couple of the Summer: Basil and Bacon

Posted Jun 21 2013 10:17am
Roasted Veggie Pasta with Basil & Bacon

Roasted Veggie Pasta with Basil & Bacon

Veggies are delicious; roasted veggies are even more delicious. Toss them with whole-grain pasta, fresh herbs, and some freshly cooked pastured bacon, and you have the best of all possible worlds. The fact that this is a mix-and-match idea makes it all the more appealing. Got green beans and corn? Roast those. Beets and peppers? Roast them. I happened to have zucchini, asparagus, green onions, and yellow onions, so that’s what I roasted.

Ditto on the fresh herbs: while I used basil, you could just as deliciously opt for fresh dill, oregano, thyme, chives, or even mint. (Yes, mint pairs well with savory dishes.) And if you don’t have any pastured bacon on hand, you could substitute a different-but-equally-savory ingredient, like grated aged cheese, olives, or hard-boiled eggs. No matter which you choose, this is another summer dish that’s perfect for a picnic (or a take-along lunch) since it doesn’t need to be continuously refrigerated. Slip a container of this into your desk drawer at work and then watch your co-workers look longingly at your lunch when you crack open the lid. And then be kind and pass along the recipe!

Roasted Veggie Pasta with Basil & Bacon
Serves 2.

1 small zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced into 1/4″-thick rounds
1 small yellow onion, ends trimmed, sliced into 1/4″-thick rounds
6 green onions, ends trimmed
6 slender spears asparagus, woody ends snapped off
2 servings whole-grain pasta of your choice (be sure to choose gluten-free pasta if you’re making a gluten-free dish)
2 to 4 strips cooked bacon , preferably pastured, snipped or cut into small pieces
6 large fresh basil leaves*

Preheat oven to 375F and cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with a drizzle of unrefined peanut oil OR extra-virgin olive oil and a dash of sea salt. Spread out on one half of one baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining veggies, tossing each separately and then arranging in a single layer on the baking sheets. It’s best to group like veggies together so that you can pull them out of the oven as they’re done.

Roast veggies for 15 to 20 minutes or until they start to shrivel and turn golden brown. The green onions will most likely be done first, followed by the asparagus. (They’re the most slender.) The yellow onion will probably take the longest. As each veggie group becomes golden brown and fragrant, remove it from the baking sheets.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain well, then toss with bacon, cooked veggies, and just enough extra-virgin olive oil to allow you to easily toss the pasta. (A drizzle should suffice.) At the last possible moment, roll basil into a tight tube and cut thinly to create fine ribbons. Toss with the pasta and serve promptly.


* If you’d like to have leftovers and take them along for a picnic or next-day lunch, opt for dried basil rather than fresh. You can still use the fresh basil as a garnish for the portion you’ll be eating right away.

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