Friday, June 6, 2014

Creamy Bacon and Leek Pasta

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My family likes to cook.  So recently when we went away for a nice relaxing three-day weekend in Birch Bay just over the US border from our place, we decided to have a pasta throwdown.  Because why wouldn't you have an intense pasta competition on your relaxing family vacation.

The competition gets underway.
My family is obviously also competitive.  So when I called my dad a few days before our trip to let him know what kind of pasta I would be making and what my ingredients were, I shouldn't have been surprised when he remarked that he couldn't believe I had willingly given up my recipe so close to the competition and that he could really use this to his advantage.
The teams were 1) The Hubby and me, 2) my mom and dad, and 3) my brother and his girlfriend Alex.  The Hubby and I decided to stick with the Creamy Bacon and Leek rigatoni because, "who doesn't like lots and lots of yummy leeks in their pasta, right," my family of smart-asses was telling me .

Mmmmmmm lots and lots of leeks!
My brother and Alex' team made a creamy tomato, roasted vegetable, and sausage linguine (on the BBQ I might add, because kitchen space was limited...bonus points).

Stiff competition right there
My parents made a creamy cajun chicken linguine.


Frick, that dinner was gooooood.  Here are the final results:

Left:  Creamy Tomato, Sausage, and Roasted Vegetable Linguine; Lower Right:  Creamy Bacon and Leek Rigatoni; Upper Right:  Creamy Cajun Chicken Linguine
We did a round of voting where you couldn't vote for yourself, where my dad voted for himself and his pasta won.  Then we did a round of voting where you could vote for yourself, where my dad voted for himself, and his pasta still won.  I would like to make you aware that my brother voted for my team's pasta both times, even when he could have voted for his own...thanks bro!  I wasn't so altruistic, and voted for myself in that second round because MY PASTA WAS AMAZING!!!  It really was awesome, that Creamy Bacon Leek pasta, and it will make an appearance in my kitchen again soon (not soon enough I guess, because the pictures I have from the first time that I made it are pretty bad but are being posted here anyways).  Thank you to Food Network Magazine for inspiring the recipe.

So after the competition, we had to eat pasta for two more meals until it was all finished (my brother even had some for breakfast), but with the three delicious options that we made that was not such a hard task.

It was so nice to get to spend a long weekend away with my family.  The food competition is now going to be am annual event, and we are already coming up with ideas for next year.  Stay tuned!

One Year Ago:  Cantaloupe Gin Cocktails
Two Years Ago:  Pina Colada Fruit Dip

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Creamy Bacon and Leek Pasta

Serves: 4

  • 12 ounces rigatoni
  • 8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 - 3 leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, and well rinsed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook according to package directions.  Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain pasta.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon over medium heat in a large frying pan, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes.  Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon onto a paper-towel lined plate.  Discard the bacon grease, leaving 1 tablespoon of the grease still in the pan.  Add the leeks to the pan, and season with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the heavy cream to the pan with the leeks, and cook until the cream starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Add the pasta, 1/3 cup of the parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and half of the bacon to the pan, and softly stir to coat.  If you need to use some liquid, add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water at a time, until the sauce is creamy.

To serve, top with the remaining bacon, parmesan cheese, and parsley.  Enjoy!

Recipe Source:  Adapted from Food Network Magazine

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