Hello everyone! Today I am going to be highlighting a great Texan product I found at the Parker County Peach Festival. Austin Gourmet Foods makes a wide range of flavored oils and vinegars, flavored pastas, and spice rubs. This is not a paid post; I just really love this product and wanted to share it with you. If you want to find out more about Austin Gourmet Foods product line, then visit them at http://austingourmetfoods.com/.

For this recipe, I am highlighting Austin Gourmet Foods’ Austin-tatious Spinach Basil Garlic Pasta.

IMG_0563I wanted to compliment rather than cover the flavors in this pasta. So, I have created a pesto highlighting the same flavors found in the pasta. I have taken things a step further and added in some BLT inspired elements to create this balanced, tasty pasta dish.

Bacon-Spinach-Tomato Pasta

To make this dish you will need:

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1 package of Austin Gourmet Foods Austin-tatious Spinach Basil Garlic Pasta

4 oz pine nuts

2 cups fresh baby spinach,

1 cup of fresh basil, packed

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 lb bacon (I used jowl bacon, but regular bacon would be just as awesome)

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil + a tablespoon or two to drizzle over tomatoes

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Salt

Black Pepper

Start by slicing the cherry tomatoes in half. Spread them out over a large baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Toss the tomatoes to evenly coat them with the oil and seasoning. Roast tomatoes in a 350 F oven for around 30 minutes. Once the tomatoes are in the oven, slice the bacon into smaller strips and fry them up until crispy. While the bacon is frying, now would be a good time to put on some salted water to boil for the pasta. When the bacon is done, remove the strips and drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and nest a slightly small bowl in it, like the picture below.

IMG_0564Add the spinach and the garlic to the hot bacon fat. You just want to wilt the spinach and to take some of the bite out of the raw garlic. Remove the spinach and garlic once all of the spinach is wilted, around 1-2 minutes, and place in the smaller bowl in the ice bath to stop the spinach cooking. Once you have transferred the spinach and garlic mixture to the ice bath, add the pasta to your salted boiling water. This pasta will cook quickly (in about 5-6 minutes). So, stick around and be ready to drain the pasta or use a slotted spoon to spread out the cooked pasta on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil (my preference). While the pasta is cooking, add the spinach and garlic mixture, basil, white wine vinegar, and pine nuts to a food processor and puree and until mostly smooth (i.e., no large chunks of ingredients) to make the pesto. Add around 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper to the pesto and 1 teaspoon of salt to start. Add additional salt, if desired, to taste. This is basically my way of telling you I don’t really know how much salt and pepper I added; I just adjusted until it tasted right for me. Once the pesto is ready, the last step is to dice the crispy bacon strips.

Once you have all of your components ready, plate your finished pasta dish and enjoy!

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