penne with roasted garlic & bacon

i had a bunch of pre-peeled garlic that needed a home.  i love, love, love roasted garlic and that’s how i started the idea for this dish.

i had just gotten some turkey bacon at the market that morning and thought the dish could use a little protein.  the flavor turned out smokey and delicious after mixing the roasted garlic, bacon and cheese together.  really a great combo.

1/2 box penne pasta

15 cloves garlic

2 TBS olive oil

2 TBS unsalted butter

2 strips turkey bacon

4 TBS pasta water (after pasta is done)

grated parmesan cheese (i used a 3-cheese mix: asagio/parm/fontina)

S & P to taste

serves 2 & 1/2 (2 adults and 1 baby or 2 super hungry folks)

the first thing you want to get out of the way is roasting the garlic since it takes the longest.  sauté naked cloves in olive oil until lightly browned.  lightly salt them.   transfer garlic to nonstick baking pan and place in 300 degree oven for 15-20 min or until very fork tender because you’re gonna mush ’em up eventually.  save garlicy oiled pan, however.  while garlic is roasting, roughly chop the bacon into small pieces and fry in old garlic pan until browned.  once browned, pour onto papertowel-lined plate.  leave some of the bacon drippings in pan — as much as you’d like and wipe or pour out rest.  start cooking pasta.  check garlic in oven.  when super tender & mashable, mash with fork in a wide rimmed bowl.  to aid in mashing, add a few drops of olive oil.

add mashed garlic/olive oil mixture & bacon back to into fry pan at low heat.  once pasta is ready, pour on top of garlic & bacon.  add pasta water (helps thicken) and 2 pats of butter.  add pepper to taste.  the salt is already taken care of via the bacon & the cheese you’re about to sprinkle all over it.  turn off heat, sprinkle cheese & serve.

served with arugula salad with tomatoes.

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