I’ve previously mentioned my obsession with magazines. I’ve also previously mentioned my admiration of Martha Stewart. So it goes without saying that I have a backlog of Martha recipes that I pull out in a pinch. Except when I can’t find them. Anywhere.
This may have happened to me recently when I found myself at the grocery store completely uninspired and staring at the produce section. I had decided on swordfish for supper and could not for the life of me think of a side. Can we interrupt this blog post for a minute so that I can point out that there was no meal plan? None. I believe this was day three or four in a row that I found myself in the grocery with absolutely no plan for supper. Isn’t that why you started this darn blog in the first place? To be more organized and spend less time in the grocery store and less time thinking about dinner? Why, yes. Yes it is. This would be what we call a complete fail.
So I had my swordfish and I had found a simple recipe while standing at the fish counter on my-what-would-I-do-without-it smart phone but I had no side. Speak to me, produce. Tell me what to do. The asparagus spoke. And at the same time, my twins spoke. Pasta they said. (This, by the way, is the problem with no meal plan when you have four-year-olds. They ALWAYS say pasta.) In the back of my mind was a recipe that I hadn’t made in forever for gemelli with asparagus, mozzarella, and bacon. It came out of a Martha Stewart magazine a hundred years ago and I was certain that I could find it online. Nope. All roads pointed to nothing.
Until I found this penne recipe. Thank you, thank you Farmer’s Market of Clinton Township, Michigan. I love you.
This pasta dish is excellent comfort food. It is also an excellent way to get your children to eat more asparagus than you thought humanly possible. Are you ready for easy? Good. Fry up some bacon. Don’t use the microwave. You want the fat. (Oh, yeah, I said that out loud. You can thank me later.) Boil some water for your pasta (gemelli is perfect for this, but penne is ok too) and make sure to salt it. Meanwhile, have your little hands break the asparagus into bite sized pieces. They can also help cut fresh mozzarella into bite sized pieces. Chop up a bunch of fresh marjoram.
Here comes the fun part. Cook the asparagus and a bit of red pepper flakes in the bacon fat (you don’t need all of it, just enough to flavor the asparagus but do yourself a favor and save some of that pasta water if you skimp on the bacon fat) while your pasta cooks to al dente. Dump your cooked pasta in the skillet with your asparagus and bacon fat, adding the cooked bacon (crumbled up, of course), the marjoram, some reserved pasta water, and a bit of salt and pepper. Remove the whole shebang from the heat, and stir in the fresh mozzarella. Serve and prepare to be amazed at how much of this deliciousness with green stuff in it your kids will eat. I was blown away. But I don’t blame them. This stuff is good.
Oh, and so was the fish. I wish I had a better photo, but let’s be honest, I was hungry. Give this meal a try on a busy night. It takes no time and all and is very satisfying. Buon appetito!