This fabulous recipe will be my Pasta of Choice on October 25th for World Pasta Day! I slightly modified it (just a few tweaks like removing the extra dashings of salt as my taste buds can't do much salt) from a Laura's Best Recipe. (do go visit Laura's website for her recipe on Tagliatelle with Applewood Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Onions, and Mushrooms, she's awesome and available for "Liking" on FB!).
Use the meatiest best bacon you can find, applewood smoked bacon is out of this world wonderful. Do not even consider using the typical fatty breakfast bacon, this pasta is all about incredibly fantastic bacon.
If you are unfamiliar with Parmigiana Reggiano it is a great pungent cheese, in the manner of blue cheese only without the blue color. If you prefer milder cheese rather than one that bites back, use regular Parmigiana, it will be great anyway.
Use any wide egg pasta, I used Pappardelle. When measuring any ingredient, remember YOUR personal taste buds rule. Feel free to go up or down with the amount of any ingredient. I cannot imagine this recipe without the bacon, but if you are a Vegetarian, go ahead and omit it and double up on the mushrooms.
Pasta Ala Laura Ingredients with variations on a bacon theme:
3 T olive oil
1/4 lb Applewood smoked bacon (ok, this is for the calorie minded individual, I really used about 1/2 a pound...or so and boy was it awesome)
2 small onions
1 lb cremini or portobello mushrooms (even my anti-mushroomed son enjoyed these caramelized delights!)
1/2 t dried rosemary (more if you love rosemary, up to 1 t)
4 t garlic
1 lb wide pasta noodle such as tagliatelle or pappardelle
approximately 2 1/2 cups lightly salted water reserved from cooking pasta
Optional: when you add the black pepper, add some crushed red pepper flakes. Most excellent, especially if you are not adding any salt beyond what is in the water and bacon.
Put the large tall sided skillet on the stove to which you add the olive oil. Fill a large pasta pot with cold water - never ever fill a pot with hot water as the sediments from your water heater are not delicious seasonings. Set out the Pappardelle.
Chop onion, slice of the excess fat from the bacon if needed and cut into 1 inch chunks, place both in a single bowl.
Rinse, dry, and slice the mushrooms and place in bowl with measured rosemary.
Mince the garlic and place in small bowl.
Cut four T butter and put on plate in the fridge.
Grate the Parmigiano Reggiano and place in bowl with the rinsed and chopped parsley, and fresh cracked black pepper.
Directions with extra notes of bacony goodness:
In a large skillet, heat 3 T of the olive oil over medium high heat. Add bacon and onions, cook about 15 minutes til the onions and bacon are a pretty brown but not fully caramelized - minimize the stirring to encourage browning. If you got the good meaty bacon you should not have to drain off fat. Otherwise, drain some, but not all of the cheap bacon fat (although if you are going to eat bacon don't get the cheap stuff). This recipe is not super low fat or vegetarian, but you can always pretend. Watch the pan for fat spittery. If it spits, you may need to lower the temperature.
Bring the large pot of lightly salted water to boil over high heat while you set about finishing the veggies and make the sauce.
Add the mushrooms and rosemary to the bacon onion mixture and cook with minimal stirring until the mushrooms are caramelized. This part will take a while - at least 10-15 minutes. The time is shorter if you can keep your pan on medium high. When the mushrooms are caramelized, add the minced garlic and stir frequently but not ridiculously so for about a minute to release the aroma of the garlic. You stir more here so the garlic doesn't burn.
Season with pepper (salt if you salt stuff) and scrape the mushroom mix into a large serving bowl. Cover to keep warm.
Don't wash the skillet, just set aside til it's time to make the sauce (near the end of the pasta cookery).
Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water til it is nicely al dente - about 8 - 9 minutes depending on your pasta. After about 4-6 minutes of cooking time, remove one and one half cups pasta water and dump it into the unwashed skillet. Reserve another cup of pasta water and set aside for later use if needed.
Add cold butter pieces and simmer over medium high heat til the liquid reduces to a bit and takes on a sauce-like consistency (about 6-8 minutes). It doesn't look like much, but the buttery goodness coats the pappardelle just beautifully.
Drain the pasta and place it in the bowl with the mushroom mixture. Pour in the hot butter sauce and mix well. Add the Parmigiana Reggiano, cracked black pepper and parsley, toss lightly and serve with more cheese. If the mixture is too dry, add some of the reserved pasta water.
Calorie Breakdown (assuming you did not do as I did and just start tossing in mountains of bacon).
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