If my coworkers know anything about me, they know I love bacon. And, really, can you blame me? A small piece cooked and crumbled can infuse an entire dish with a smoky, salty, meaty goodness that's hard to obtain otherwise. I remember my paternal grandmother cooking bacon in her well-used cast iron pan, and then frying up a few eggs in a bit of the leftover drippings. Add a slice of toast to soak up the yolk once the egg has been cut and a cup of strong coffee, and you have the absolute best breakfast ever.
In any case, as I grew up, my love of bacon grew with me. I partially credit the BLT sandwich with teaching me to actually enjoy eating tomatoes. So naturally, when I was staring at the tomatoes in my windowsill that would over-ripen at any second, I thought to myself "Do I have bacon? Of course I do; that's a stupid question."
The rest of this pasta salad came together based on what I had on hand - a few crunchy scallions, a partial box of rotini, and a creamy vinaigrette redolent of parsley and basil. The recipe can easily be doubled; as is, the recipe makes 6-8 side dish servings.
Bacon, Scallion & Tomato Pasta Salad
Serves 6-8 as a side dish
4-5 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded & diced
3 scallions, diced
8 oz. (1/2 box) rotini pasta
Creamy Herb Vinaigrette
2 T. basil, roughly torn
1/4 c. flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 T. chevre (soft goat cheese)
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions, making sure to reserve 1 T. of the pasta cooking water after cooking. While pasta cooks, make vinaigrette: In food processor (or blender), combine basil, parsley, chevre, vinegar, and olive oil, and blend until herbs are chopped fine and the mixture is well incorporated. Taste and season as needed with salt & pepper.
When pasta has finished cooking, drain it in a colander and rinse it briefly with cold water to cool it slightly (pasta should still be slightly warm). Transfer pasta to a medium sized bowl and toss in bacon, scallion, and tomatoes. Add in 1 T. of reserved pasta water as well as the vinaigrette. Toss well to combine. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Can be made up to a day ahead.