OK, quick confession: there's actually not a lot of bacon in this dish, but I thought it might catch your attention! But as I've said before, it doesn't necessarily take a lot of bacon to add some nice flavor to a dish. Just enough to punch up the flavor of a pasta featuring what was still remaining in the fridge at the week's end--in this case, some spinach and a bell pepper were the main ingredients I sought to use. Here's the simple recipe, vary it according to what's in your fridge!
1 onion, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups or so spinach
handful of Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
1/2 tsp dried basil
12 ozs elbow macaroni or other short pasta shape
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large skillet on medium high with a bit of oil spray on to coat. Add the bacon, cook until nice and crispy, turning once. Place a paper towel on top of a plate, and remove the bacon to the plate when it's done; the paper towel will absorb the bacon grease. Drain most of the excess grease, but leave a bit in the pan for flavor.
Start heating a pan with water to cook the pasta as you get going on the rest of the sauce. Return the skillet to medium heat with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, then add the onion. Cook until nice and soft and beginning to brown. Add the bell pepper and cook until the pepper and onion are starting to caramelize (i.e. get brown and sweet). Add the dried basil, or fresh if you have it. At this time, start cooking the pasta according to package instructions.
Stir in the garlic with another tbsp of olive oil when the pepper and onion have browned, cook for another minute or so. Gradually stir in the spinach, letting some begin to wilt to create room for more. Once all the spinach has been added and started to soften, turn the heat to very low and cover to wait for the pasta to finish cooking.
Drain the pasta when done to your liking. Toss with the final tbsp olive, the spinach/onion mixture and a handful of cheese. Plate the pasta and serve with extra cheese at the table.