So, what does one do with homemade bacon? Being cut pretty thick, we opted for using it as a base for other dishes instead of just frying it and letting it shine solo.
A quick walk to the garden suggested a perfect dish, with summer squash still coming on strong and lovely sweet red peppers begging to be picked. I’ve been puzzled the past few weeks as farmers’ markets slow down and people begin returning to the supermarket. One friend who enjoyed some of our tomatoes was even surprised we still had them! September is the most bountiful time of year in the garden, and the last thing we need in northeastern PA is to bring on winter prematurely. Some of my tennis friends have even started playing indoors. Puzzling indeed! The recipe below is still an ode to summer, which we don’t yet need to give up!
I apologize for the lack of specific measurements. Unless I’m cooking from a book, I never measure, and I can’t quite bring myself to do it. Use your instincts, and make the dish your own by using the amount of something you think will work! Just be sure to peel the peppers. It’s not something I often see recommended, but as I learned from studying the books of Marcella Hazan, it is an essential step. As the skin is removed, the juices of the pepper are released and the aroma of pepper fills the kitchen. With aroma comes flavor, and without peeling it stays trapped beneath the skin.
Penne with Zucchini, Sweet Peppers, and Bacon
1) Dice or julienne some thick cut bacon, and lightly brown in a little bit of olive oil over medium heat.
2) When the bacon is beginning to brown, push it to the side of the pan and add some diced zucchini, being sure not to crowd them too much. They need to brown.
3) Season with salt and turn the zucchini when nicely browned on one side. Add about ¼ sweet pepper per serving, being sure to peel the pepper before slicing it into thin strips.
4) Season the peppers with salt and a bit of black or hot pepper, and add a generous bit of olive oil and some parsley or basil.
5) Raise the heat a bit cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers begin to brown a little. Then lower the heat and cook another five or ten minutes until the peppers are tender.
6) While the sauce is being prepared, boil your pasta (I like penne or orecchiette for this sauce), using about 2 tablespoons salt per 4 quarts of water or your pasta will not taste its best.
7) When al dente, drain the pasta and toss with the sauce, either in a bowl or in the pan where the sauce cooked. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and fresh herbs, and serve immediately.