What's not to love about pasta and bacon? Nothing. That's right. Pretty sure that's why pasta and bacon are comfort foods. Now before we dive in here, I want to admit this post comes with 1 apology and 2 disclaimers. For starters, I haven't posted in a while. Between finishing up things with my graduate school classes and starting back up at my seasonal job braving, the retail world this time of year at Nordstrom, time seems to have slipped away from me. My bad. More recipes coming soon! And for the disclaimers: 1) I really don't like pasta. Unless it's cooked the way I've cooked it today--it gets so rich and creamy. I just don't know why but pasta doesn't do much for me. 2) The photography is terrible. The lighting at my parents house--where I happen to be right now--is worse than the lighting at my place. SO, if you'll forgive me for all these little things, we can move on.
This month, the Recipe ReDux theme was "Grab a book and cook." I'm a fan of this challenge. My mom asked me why people need an extensive collection of cookbooks with the internet these days and I didn't really have the best answer for her other than I think they are fun to read. I have an extensive collection of cookbooks. I love looking at the pictures and reading the stories behind each recipe. That's fun for me. This is old news though, you all knew I have a love affair with all things food. So the challenge was to prepare a recipe from pg. 42 or pg. 142 of a cookbook. During my teenage years, I went through a tiny Rachael Ray phase. That tiny phase included obsessively watching her shows on Food Network, buying all her cookbooks, and entering and winning a recipe contest leading me to become published in Yum-O: The Family Cookbook. Here's the recipe in case you're a tiny bit interested. The recipe I picked for my inspiration today actually happens to be something I've cooked dozens of times. My family loves pasta therefore I cook it for them. It's from the Rachael Ray book, Just In Time, pg. 142.
I thought it'd be fun to change this recipe around a bit. I've been eating brussels sprouts with literally everything these days. With eggs, on salad, and even for breakfast. Yes, I know that's probably strange, but I enjoy it so that's what counts, right? So I made this recipe a little healthier and a little more exciting by using brussels sprouts and turkey bacon. I also substituted whole wheat pasta for white pasta and cut the parmesan cheese in half. I promise though, the dish is just as creamy as you would dream of it being without all the cheese. I think this dish might even be a fun holiday meal. I don't know why but any time the combo of brussels sprouts and bacon appears in a dish, I automatically feel like it's a holiday.
I think this pasta dish is fun because it gives the illusion of creaminess like a cream sauce but it's really just starchy and salty and pure delicious. Cooking the pasta like risotto will do that to a noodle. Feel free to mess with the veggie to pasta ratio. This recipe makes a TON of food. What veggies did you guys mix in? Tell me below!
Creamy Spaghetti and Beans with Turkey Bacon and Brussels Sprouts
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb turkey bacon (I like the nitrate free kind from Trader Joes)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cups shredded brussels sprouts
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and black pepper to taste
5-6 cups chicken broth
1, 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping pasta
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the turkey bacon. Cook for 2-3 minutes to crisp. Add the garlic, then the spaghetti and allow the noodles to toast lightly for 2 minutes. Add the onions, brussels sprouts, bay leaves and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup chicken broth and allow it to be completely absorbed. Add the beans and then add a few splashes of broth and stir the pasta. Keep adding broth a little at a time, waiting until all the broth is absorbed before adding more. Keep doing this until the spaghetti is cooked to al dente (has a bite). This should take about 15 minutes. When pasta is cooked, stir in the parmesan cheese and allow to melt. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Turn off heat and remove the bay leaves. Serve garnished with more parmesan cheese.