Total time: 45 minutes : servings 8
This healthful, hearty pasta from chef Helene Henderson has a surprising ingredient, black-eyed peas—considered by Southern cooks to bring good luck. Any tender green, like arugula, would work well instead of the spinach.
1/2 pound bacon, frozen for 15 minutes and very thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups drained canned or thawed frozen black-eyed peas
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-1/2 pounds dried orecchiette pasta
5 ounces baby spinach
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
1. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet and heat the olive oil in it. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Scrape the garlic oil into a serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, black-eyed peas, vinegar and a generous pinch each of salt and black pepper to the bowl and toss well.
2. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the orecchiette until al dente. Drain well. Add the pasta and the spinach to the tomato mixture and toss until the spinach is just wilted. Season the pasta generously with salt and black pepper and toss again. Sprinkle the bacon on top and serve, passing cheese at the table.
Earthy, berried Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir.