Sunday, June 24, 2012

BLT Pasta Salad

I love a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich on perfectly toasted white bread, slathered with mayonnaise and layered with crunchy lettuce, crisply cooked bacon and beautifully ripe tomatoes (who doesn't?), so when I came across this salad, I knew I had to make it.  It combined all the components of the sandwich but substituted pasta for the bread and turned out to be everything I love.  This is definitely an updated macaroni salad which will appear frequently on my summer menu.

I served the salad with a grilled pork chop drizzled with a garlic lime sauce which was also wonderfully delicious.

BLT Pasta Salad with Creamy Bacon Dressing
Makes 10 servings (about 7 1/2 cups)

1/2 pound dry pasta (I used penne rigate)
1/2 pound thick-sliced bacon, diced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups halved grape tomatoes

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to package directions.  Transfer pasta to a bowl of ice water; drain well.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate.  Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons drippings; set aside to cool.  (To keep the dressing from curdling, be sure to cool the bacon drippings to room temperature before adding to the mayonnaise.)

Whisk together mayonnaise, reserved drippings, shallots, basil, vinegar, and sugar in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Stir in pasta, romaine, tomatoes and bacon; toss to coat.  Season salad with salt and pepper.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home Issue No. 94, July/August 2012

Note:  Even though this recipe sounds decadent it comes in at 243 calories for a 3/4 cup serving.

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