Not sure why I went back to the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook for a recipe, since I've already cooked from it before (Roasted Asparagus). Of course the recipe has bacon in the title and we all know how I feel about bacon. It could be because I had some extra onions on hand. Or maybe I was craving pasta. Or maybe it was just reading the words "melting onions" that made me decide that I needed, no I had to make this dish.
This pasta dish was rich and flavorful, but that might have a lot to do with the really good bacon I used, and the amount of bacon fat. I wasn't really sure about this recipe at first as it seemed like a lot of onions. Because there was no cream, I also thought it would turn out to be very dry but that wasn't the case. Here is where, again, I wish more precise measurements were given. Two medium onions? I had two what I thought were small onions, and it made three cups worth of minced onions. Plus, it said "half the bacon fat". Man, there was almost a cup of bacon fat! So, I did what it said and left in about half the remaining bacon fat...not that I saw anything wrong with that.
This was a simple dish to make but it did take some time. You have to really like onions to like this dish because it obviously tastes very oniony. But it's bacon oniony so it's worth it. The onions kind of just melt into the dish, thus the name, but they are still there.
PASTA WITH CRUMBLED BACON AND MELTING ONIONS
1 pound sliced bacon
2 large white or red onions, minced
3/4 pound spaghetti
1/4 to 1/3 pound parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
freshly ground black pepper
handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Place a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Fry the bacon, making sure that the rendered fat does not begin to smoke or burn, until the bacon is almost crisp but not dark, 5 - 10 minutes. Using a fork or tongs, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. When cool enough to handle, crumble into a small bowl and set aside.
Pour off one-half of the bacon drippings and return the pan to medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook very slowly, stirring often, until they melt into the bacon fat. This will take about 30 minutes. The onions should be a caramel brown; do not allow them to blacken.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the onions are almost ready, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Scoop out and reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta.
Add the drained pasta to the onions in the skillet and toss over medium-low heat, add the reserved pasta water as needed to moisten, until the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce.
Transfer to a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with half of the crumbled bacon and half of the cheese, and toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Scatter the parsley and the rest of the crumbled bacon over the top and serve. Pass the rest of the cheese at the table. Serves 4.
Note: I used white onions.
Note: I used a lot of cheese. Probably put all 1/3 cup in the mixture and then grated more for the top.
Note: It took more than 30 minutes, probably closer to 45, for my onions to get to what I thought was the desired doneness based on the recipe.
Note: Because it seemed dry, I ended up putting the entire half cup of pasta liquid in the dish.