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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tomato-Cream Pasta Sauce with Asparagus, Back Bacon & Artichokes

I like to "invent-a-pasta" from time to time. here's tonight, which was a very well-enjoyed healthy-but-seems-decadent meal.

Tomato-Cream Pasta Sauce
with Asparagus, Back Bacon, and Artichokes

-3/4 cup half-and-half cream
-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
-2 shallots, thinly sliced and coarsely chopped
-1/2 pound back bacon, chopped in 1" pieces
-8-12 stalks of asparagus, chopped into 1" pieces
-1/2 cup chopped jarred marinated artichoke hearts
-1 28-oz container cherry tomatoes, "tomato sauce" mostly drained
-1/2 cup pesto
-1/4 cup Parmesan
-salt & pepper to taste

In a sauce pan, simmer the cream and the crushed garlic over medium heat until reduced by half.

Saute shallots in a good nonstick frying pan with a tablespoon butter over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, add asparagus, cook another 3-5 minutes. Crush the cherry tomatoes and add them and their juice (as opposed to the "tomato sauce" they're packed in) to the pan. Add the pesto and chopped bacon, mix well. Simmer for 10-20 minutes, during which time you make your pasta.

At the end, take your garlic cream and mash the garlic into the cream. Mix it all into the pasta sauce, add parmesan, mix well, and serve on pasta. I choose whole wheat pasta. Tasty!

NOTE: You can substitute chicken. I've made this also with spicy Italian sausage and even chorizo. They all change the dish, but the chicken and back bacon are relatively similar in effect, and I love them both.

Also, that cream? All of 12 grams fat and 160 calories, and this'll serve 4 or 5. Versus 600 calories / 66 grams of fat for whipping cream. This is why you reduce it -- you intensify the richness but keep the calories down.