Friday, September 6

Pasta Shells with Corn, Bacon, & Chard

We always get an Indian summer in September and early October, and this year it came on strong with the hottest temperatures of the year gracing Los Angeles. It's odd to try and transition into fall during this heat, but it's impossible to ignore the signs: football games (skol Vikings!), kids heading back to school, and the appearance of pumpkin-everything at stores and coffee shops. I'm not ready to whip out my dutch oven for long braises and stews, but this pasta is a nice transition dish. Sweet summer corn and fatty, salty bacon are always a good pairing, but the chard keeps it from feeling too naughty. It's a simple meal that reheats well for leftovers, although I doubt you'll be able to save much since it goes quickly.

Pasta Shells with Corn, Bacon, & Chard:
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and cook 1/2 lb. of small pasta shells until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, wash 1 bunch of rainbow chard* and remove the center ribs from the leaves. Stack the leaves and roll into a cigar, then thinly slice them into ribbons.
  • Add 4 slices of diced thick-cut bacon to a skillet over medium high heat.
  • Cook until bacon releases most of its fat and begins to brown, 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in a pinch of red chile flakes, the kernels from 2 ears of corn, and the chard.
  • Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until greens wilt.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 pasta cooking water.
  • Add the pasta and water to the skillet and reduce the heat to low.
  • Toss for 2-3 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed, then add in 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Divide onto plates and serve.

Serves two-three
*Or regular Swiss chard or a similar leafy green.