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.