Monday, February 18, 2013

Creamy Tomato Bacon Dill Pasta

Pasta is one of my top five all-time favourite ingredients. It's so versatile - there are truly limitless options for pasta dishes with the various types of pasta, protein additions, vegetables, sauces, and garnishes. When I feel like experimenting in the kitchen, I usually turn to pasta. I challenge myself to come up with a new variation that I haven't done before with whatever ingredients I have on hand. This past week, I went all out with two proteins, a multitude of vegetables, and a flavourful sauce. I think this will be a repeat recipe!

Creamy Tomato Bacon Dill Pasta

1 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into small strips, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ onion diced
½ green pepper, chopped
4 cremini mushrooms, diced
¼ cup white wine
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 small Roma tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup dill-flavoured cream cheese
1 ¼ cup whole wheat pasta of your choice
1 tsp dill weed/fresh dill

Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook on one side for 5 minutes. Flip the chicken strips over and add the bacon to the pan and cook for 5 more minutes. Continue browning the chicken and bacon for 3 more minutes, stirring each minute.
Add the garlic, onion, green pepper, and mushrooms to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft and brown. Add the wine and the balsamic vinegar and let come to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and add the tomatoes. Toss gently and let the sauce simmer for 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and stir gently until it melts and is incorporated.
Prepare the pasta according to package directions; drain, and add to the sauce. Toss together and garnish with the fresh dill.

The addition of the cream cheese was actually a game-time decision. My initial vision of this dish was for a wine/vinegar-based sauce with no creamy ingredient, but the combination of tomato and dill is one that I have always enjoyed but rarely exploit. I am very pleased with the end result. I used whole wheat rotini as my pasta, and with all the vegetables the dish is colourful and nutritious. The saltiness of the bacon plays off the sweetness of the tomato, and the creamy tang of the sauce with the cream cheese and the wine and vinegar balances out the spectrum of tastes. 

The three servings I got from this recipe gave me great energy with the protein and whole wheat pasta. The flavours in the sauce are also inspiring and energizing, so I obviously need an upbeat tune to match this fabulous dish. My pick is Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet.


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