This started out as a recipe called spaghetti with bacon, spinach and tomato, and then I realised what I was actually making and the name just dropped into place. Whatever you call it, this is a fabulous use of the seasonal produce around.
In particular, enjoy tomatoes (and capsicums) while you can – prices are likely to shoot up to record levels within a few weeks and stay that way until Christmas, thanks to some charitable soul who poisoned the entire crop of tomato and capsicum seedlings in two nurseries in Queensland about eight weeks ago. That’s around 40% of the national tomato seed stock. Forty. Percent.
4 slices bacon; 1 clove garlic, finely sliced; 1 punnet cherry tomatoes (about 250g); 250g baby spinach leaves, OR 1 bunch english spinach leaves, well washed; 2 tbsp olive oil; 300g linguine; ½ tsp chilli flakes (optional); sea salt and cracked black pepper; juice of ½ a lemon, to serve
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Add a pinch of salt. Add linguine when the water is at a roiling boil and cook for 8 minutes according to manufacturers instructions.
Place bacon rashers side by side on a grilling tray and place them under a hot grill. Cook for 5 minutes on each side until they are crisp and browned. Remove, drain on kitchen towel.
If you are using a bunch of english spinach, as opposed to the baby leaves, rinse and drain the leaves and remove stalks. Chop roughly into three or four smaller pieces.
In a large fry pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add garlic, chilli flakes and tomatoes and toss gently in the oil. Let the tomatoes cook and brown a little in the pan over the next 3 minutes. Prick the tomatoes with the point of a sharp knife to allow some steam to escape. The tomatoes will start to collapse a little – at this point add the spinach leaves and stir for 1 minute only until the spinach has started to wilt but is still a bright green.
Drain the cooked linguine of all but a scant half a cup of cooking water and add the tomatoes and spinach leaves to the pasta. Crumble the bacon over the top and stir very gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice to help lift the flavours. Serve immediately.
$6.70 for four people