Dinner Tonight: Almond Pesto Pasta with Bacon

Since "Dinner Several Nights Ago" is too long for a title, I had to fudge a bit. I may be behind on the food posting, but I did not want to neglect this yummy pasta dish. While I've made a number of pesto pasta dishes before, this one is my new favorite. The pesto itself is packed with flavor, and the addition of the salty bacon and the sweet grape tomatoes make this pasta supper complete. 

I adapted the recipe from Rachael Ray's "Bowties with Smoked Almond Sauce, Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomatoes" (From the August 2010 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray).

1 lb bowtie pasta
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
12 slices of bacon, chopped
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh basil
2/3 to 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup smoked almonds (or regular roasted almonds would work too)
1 clove garlic, minced, pressed, or grated
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and Pepper

Boil a large pot of water, then salt the water and add the pasta. Cook to al dente (a tiny bit undercooked--the pasta should have a bite to it). Before draining, reserve about a cup of the pasta water. 

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crispy, and remove the cooked bacon onto a paper-towel lined plate. 

In a food processor, combine the basil, parmesan (save some for finishing), almonds and garlic. Pour in about 1/3 cup of olive oil, and puree into a thick pesto. Put the pesto into a large bowl, and add the tomatoes. Season the pesto and tomatoes (keep in mind that parmesan has a lot of salt so go easy on the salt). To thin out the sauce, add some of the pasta cooking water (there isn't an exact amount here, just make the sauce so it's thin enough to cover the pasta). Add the pasta and the bacon to the sauce, then toss to combine. Serve, and top with the reserved parmesan. 

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