Creamy bacon and spinach rigatoni

This easy weeknight meal combines salty bacon and fresh spinach in a creamy, simple sauce.

The Runaway Spoon
Creamy bacon and spinach rigatoni is an easy weeknight meal with a delicious combination of flavors.

I love a simple dish with a little something special. This is such an easy weeknight dinner, with the smoky flavor of bacon, the bright color and fresh bite of spinach, and a creamy sauce that is surprisingly simple. 

I prefer to use regular spinach, not the baby spinach sold in the salad section, which I find really tricky to cut into pieces and remove stems. I love the big, hearty tunnels of rigatoni, but any tubular pasta will work.

Creamy Spinach and Bacon Rigatoni
Serves 6

1 pound rigatoni pasta
6 strips of bacon
1 bunch of fresh spinach leaves
Clove of garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the rigatoni according to the instructions on the package.

2. While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, cut the bacon into small pieces and cook it in a large sauté pan on high heat until crispy.  Meanwhile, rinse the spinach leaves, leaving a bit of water clinging to them. Remove the stems and roughly chop the leaves into manageable pieces.  They don’t need to be miniscule, but you don’t want long strands in the finished dish.

3. When the bacon is crispy, remove it with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Reduce the heat to medium and give the bacon grease a couple of minutes to cool down.  Add the garlic and cook for just a minute before dropping in the spinach.  Be careful as the water from the spinach will cause some spitting.  Stir to coat it all in the oil, cover the pan and cook for about three minutes until the spinach is bright green and wilted.  Add the ricotta and stir until it is smooth and creamy.  Generously salt and pepper the dish, and stir in the nutmeg.

4. Your pasta should be ready by now.  Dip out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the rigatoni in a colander.  Add the rigatoni to the ricotta sauce and stir to coat well. Drop in the bacon pieces and add about ½ cup of the pasta water and stir to loosen up the sauce and coat the pasta.  Use more pasta water if you need Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top.

Related post on The Runaway Spoon: Creamy Italian Sausage and Pumpkin Manicotti

 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.