Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TIO Tuesday - BLT Pasta Salad

This past weekend we had the opportunity to host a family get-together with my mom's cousins from Colorado and Hawaii. I don't think I have ever met Deb, Joyce and their husbands before. They are slightly older than my mom and don't get here to visit much. My great Uncle Melvin and Aunt Ann also were able to come with their daughters, Kari and Kim. It was a last minute thing to have it at my house, but I was happy to host. Hailey and Jackson wanted to help decorate and I figured they would make posters or something like that. While I was preparing the BLT Pasta Salad, they went upstairs to get the decorations ready. When they returned downstairs about an hour later, they had made the coolest Lego creations to honor our guests. I was impressed as was everyone else. I think they did a fabulous job, and all on their own. Don't they look great?!

I did have to make a dish to share, and given my recent passion for pasta salad, I chose a BLT Pasta Salad, found in the latest issue of Cuisine at Home. I loved all the ingredients and I've been wanting to try out the campanelle pasta, so it was a perfect fit. I mean how can you go wrong when there are bacon drippings in the dressing? 
This is the smaller batch that I brought to our neighbors for them to try. I tried a small sample of this before putting the rest of it in the refrigerator without the bacon. I do this with all pasta salads so they can cool and the dressing has time to come together. I have to say, it was much better fresh, not chilled. Something happens to the dressing after it's chilled and it loses a lot of the bacon flavor that it has when it's fresh. So, while it was still a great salad, I'll know better for next time.

BLT Pasta Salad with creamy bacon dressing
1 lb. dry campanelle pasta
1 lb. thick sliced bacon, diced
1/2 c. mayo
2 tbsp. minced shallots
2 tbsp. minced fresh basil
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
Salt and black pepper to taste
Stir in:
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
4 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 large non-stick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Reserve 3 tbsp. drippings; set aside to cool.
Whisk together mayo, 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.

*** I'm quite certain I broke a few copyright laws, but there are no links to recipes on their website, and I did provide the link to that, it counts a little - right? I'm slightly frustrated by the fact that I actually had to retype all that... Shhh, don't tell!

~ Misty

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