Skip to content
July 1, 2007 / Tony

Bowtie Pasta Salad with Caramelized Bacon, Cherry Tomatoes, and Gorgonzola Cheese

An old friend of mine had requested a “kickass” pasta salad recipe, which to his mind, would necessarily include bacon.  Not being a person who makes pasta salad regularly, I was intrigued by this request.  So, I looked at a few recipes to try to pick up the basics to a good pasta salad and then tried to compose a flavor profile in my mind.  I immediately thought of Billionaire’s Bacon (see the post here) and tried to think of ways to incorporate it into a pasta salad.  I thought then that cherry tomatoes would be a nice complement and after that, it was a matter of really trying to incorporate the flavors of a good BLT into a pasta salad.  So I kept the dressing simple and mayonnaise based. I then composed the salad with these ingredients:  caramelized bacon, cherry tomatoes, pasta, mayonnaise, sour cream, and white wine vinegar.  Even with a good dose of Kosher salt and pepper, the salad, while good, was still a little flat.  So I added a yellow onion for sharpness and texture.  That was a huge step up in flavor but the salad was still missing that “wow” factor.  Eventually, I decided on the addition of gorgonzola cheese.  That added a creaminess and roundness of flavor that was lacking in the salad while providing a strong flavor that tamed the acidity of the tomatoes and the aggressive flavor of the bacon.  It’s now a pretty good salad.  It probably needs some tweaks to be perfect but I hope this satisfies my friend.  Here’s the recipe:

Bowtie Pasta Salad with Caramelized Bacon, Cherry Tomatoes, and Gorgonzola Cheese

1 lb thickly sliced bacon

brown sugar

freshly cracked black pepper

1 lb bowtie pasta

¾ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

3 T white wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 ½ cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Prepare the caramelized bacon first.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Spray the foil with cooking spray (or just brush with oil) and sprinkle a thin layer of brown sugar on the foil. Distribute some pepper over the brown sugar and then lay the bacon strips in the pan.  Sprinkle pepper over the bacon (use a heavy hand, it’ll be much more flavorful) and then add a fairly thick layer of brown sugar over the bacon.  Use your hands to adhere the brown sugar to the bacon.  Place the bacon in the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the bacon is cooked all the way through.  Cool to room temperature, checking every so often to make sure that the bacon is still pliable enough to remove from the pan. 

Prepare the pasta next.  Use plenty of water and heavily salt it.  It should taste briny like the sea.  Bring to a boil and cook until al dente, drain thoroughly but do not cool. 

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and white wine vinegar.  After the pasta has been cooked and drained, add the pasta to the dressing and toss.  Let it sit out until it reaches room temperature.  Then chop the caramelized bacon.  Add that and the remaining ingredients to the pasta mixture.  Toss to combine, taste, and adjust the seasonings.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready.

img_0201.jpg

Advertisements

One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. Apicia / Sep 2 2007 11:31 am

    I was experimenting with a similar recipe today and decided on DaVinci twist pasts with black and Kalamata olives, gorgonzola, flat-leaf parsley, green pepper strips, toasted walnuts with a champagne vinegarette. I am serving it with burgers, but I think it could be a main dish with the addition of tuna packed in olive oil or ham. Thanks to your post, I am now adding carmelilzed bacon to my side-dish salad and adding honey to the champagne. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: