This was a very fun and special evening. Our dearest friend Shawn makes a trip to our house every Christmas, and it is much-anticipated. My man Dave and I look forward to the food, and to trying out wines a little more special than the usual nightly offering, and, my kids look forward to sitting with a person who has known them since the day they were born, the man who gives them a sculpture or a drawing for their birthday or Christmas, instead of toys. In short, we love him.
I always want it to be a feast, an event, and this past visit was no different. This recipe was only part of our little feast. We also had appetizers, salmon, chocolate and numerous other delectable treats.
This pasta dish was amazing on so many levels. I had actually never cooked baby Vidalia onions before, but knew they had to be cooked whole. The entire dish came about to highlight these glorious onions, and I think I did them justice.
Can’t wait for us all to get together again; another excuse for a wonderful dinner.
You will need: 1 lb bacon, 10 to 12 baby Vidalia onions , chop off bulb where the stalk turns green, 3 green Vidalia onion green stalks, thinly sliced, 1 red pepper, cut into thin stripes, 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, 1 1/2 cups chicken or veggie broth (or 1 1/2 cups water & bouillon cube), 1 tsp chopped rosemary leaves, 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, sea-salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste, 2 tbs unsalted butter, Fresh Avocado slices (optional), Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated, (optional).
1 – Cut bacon into smaller pieces and place in big saute pan on low/medium heat. Cook until starting to get crispy. Drain off most of the fat and add the onion bulbs. Cook for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally.
2 – Add peppers and chopped Vidalia onion greens. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes (you may have to add some extra-virgin olive oil and/or turn down heat).
3 – Add the broth or bouillon cube and water, along with the pepper flakes and rosemary. Stir everything together and bring to a simmer. Cover with lid and simmer for about 8 minutes.
4 – In the meantime, put the pasta water on and cook penne according to instructions.When draining reserve about 1/2 a cup of pasta water (you may need it to loosen the sauce).
5 – Add the drained penne directly into the pan (do not rinse penne with cold water after draining!), along with 2 tbs of butter and the parsley. stir everything together until the butter has melted. Turn off heat. If you think the sauce is too thick, you can loosen it up with the reserved pasta water.
I served this in a big warmed bowl and let everyone help themselves. You can also pass some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to anyone who likes it!