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And the Valley Cooks: Bacon-Spinach-Parmesan Pasta

Who says you can’t throw a slightly fancier shindig?

Hello friends!

I’m back with a recipe post for camping tailgating that is quick, dirty, and very cheap.

Disclaimer! This recipe is basically meant for camping or stovetop cooking. However, for those of us that will be sleeping overnight at the tailgate (I have smokers to mind, dammit), this essentially means that I am camping (and eating) at the tailgate the night prior to games, which is still tailgating. So therefore this counts as a tailgating dish too.

In a pinch, it’s also a quick and dirty (like really dirty, it’s the literal opposite of clean eating) one-pot dinner for those of you with families at home and for those of you who like to meal prep.

If you’ve cooked jambalaya or any of its variations (i.e. pastalaya, slander away if you want in the comments, jambalaya purists), this will be a breeze. If you haven’t, don’t worry, it’s still easy, and this basically serves as a how-to for the technique you use for those as well. Here’s the recipe source. I doubled it because that way I could use the ingredients in full and save a bunch later, because this can serve a small army. I also used chicken stock instead of broth because words ending in “-th” make me angry and confused.

Anyway, here’s some ingredients:

  • 12 oz. bacon
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion, or just one small diced onion (precut onion or trinity is fine)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb. pasta
  • A couple handfuls of spinach, give or take however much you want
  • 2/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • extra parmesan what for to top your pasta with if you want it

On to the food prep!

  1. Cut the bacon into strips, roughly an inch or so. Fry that bacon in a heavy pot over medium-high heat until it’s crispy, remove it and put it somewhere (I’m not going to tell you where, I’m not your supervisor), then pour the fat into a separate bowl. The original recipe says to use only a tablespoon or so, but I wound up using about three or so because I’m doing my part in helping guarantee Louisiana stays at the bottom of the national health rankings, baby!

2. Throw the onion into the pot and heat until soft (starting to sound familiar?)Add the broth, then scrape the bottom of your pot to loosen any browned-on bits.

3. Add the pasta to the broth, stock, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, stir quickly, then turn the heat to low, return the cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Turn the pasta on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon during this part, just to make sure no pasta sticks to the bottom of the pot. The pasta will absorb a majority of the stock, and should be tender.

4. Throw in some spinach, however much you want. I like a lot, so I threw in a few handfuls (I’m “healthy”). Stir the spinach in until it’s nice and wilted and remove from the heat once that happens. I added in some crushed red pepper here to give a little kick, but it tastes fine without it.

5. Now take that bacon from wherever you put it and throw it back in pot with the now-cooked pasta. Next, throw in your parmesan and stir it in until it’s melted and creamy. Put some in a bowl, top with some extra parm, and serve.