Pasta with Leeks, Radicchio, and Bacon

by Heather on June 23, 2011

My favorite pasta starts with bacon.  Just as it should.

I mean in all honesty I have yet to meet anyone who says, “Ew, bacon is just gross.  Totally nasty.  Zero flavor.  I hate that stuff.”  I think that’s saying something since most people say that about almost any food for any given reason.

But bacon man.  It’s where it’s at.

It also has one of my most frequently underused ingredients that I just happen to adore:  leeks.  Leeks are sweet and savory and delicate and all things good in the onion world.  Not that I don’t love other oniony things – no, I adore them all.  But leeks are just so sublime.  Not to mention I feel super fancy when I cook with them…something about time-intensive veggies makes my heart go pitter-patter.  I feel like I’m back in the good ol’ days (the ones where I wasn’t actually alive) and people made everything from scratch and took a ton of time to do it.

It has radicchio.  Bitter, purple, and awesome are the three things that come to mind when I talk about radicchio which unfortunately is not often enough.  Methinks that needs to change soon.

So when you add it all together and toss some nutty whole wheat pasta and fontina cheese in the mix you get the kind of flavor explosion you only hear about in legends and myths.  But y’all, this is REAL LIFE.  Get excited!

PASTA WITH LEEKS, RADICCHIO, AND BACON

(based closely on this recipe from Foodnetwork)

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 3 leeks, only the white and very light green parts, sliced thinly, soaked, and drained to remove the sand
  • 1 head radicchio, sliced very thinly
  • 1 pound whole wheat linguine
  • 4 oz. fontina cheese (although brie is quite insanely delicious as well)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan render the bacon down until it’s crisp.  Remove from the pan and keep 3 Tbsp of the drippings.  Saute the leeks in the bacon fat for about 5-7 minutes.  Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions, making sure to save 1 cup of the cooking water.  When the pasta is done add it and the one cup of cooking liquid to the pan with the leeks.  Toss to combine; add the radicchio and let it cook for another 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the cheese and let cook until the cheese starts to melt.  Serve immediately!

Real life tastes so good…especially with some extra bacon in it.

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