Last week, I decided to trial a recipe for the next post in my Domestic Gourmet series. This recipe is for making your own bacon at home… dangerous, right?! (If you want to try it, the post will be happening in the very near future.)
I also decided to try making my own cow’s milk mozzarella from my Mad Millie Italian Cheese Kit (and yes, there will be a post on this very soon too).
So on Sunday night, I found myself with both of these ingredients to use for dinner. I had remembered seeing Giada De Laurentiis’ Baked Panzanella Caprese recipe before, and decided to use that as inspiration for this dish. Obviously her version doesn’t include bacon and pasta, but I wanted to bulk mine up a bit more and use the smokey bacon I had made. Those of you afraid of carbs, look away now!
You could make this vegetarian of course – I think that this would be really nice if you substituted eggplant with the bacon, or you could take away the pasta completely and layer this with grilled eggplant instead.
Panzanella caprese pasta bake with bacon
200g smoked bacon, diced
3 tomatoes, sliced
300g pasta (I used farfalle)
200-300g mozzarella, sliced
handful of basil leaves
3 slices of bread, crusts removed, roughly torn into chunks
1 clove garlic, crushed
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook your pasta.
Meanwhile, fry your bacon until crispy in a pan. Add the garlic and cook until softened.
Add the pasta to the bacon, including a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Stir to coat. Taste and then season if necessary.
Pour the pasta and bacon into the bottom of an oven-proof dish. Layer the sliced tomatoes on top, and then the slices of mozzarella. Grind black pepper over and then scatter with the basil leaves (reserve a few to garnish at the end).
In a bowl, drizzle the olive oil over the torn up bread and toss to coat. Layer the bread over the dish.
Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the bread is crispy and golden and the cheese has melted.
Garnish with the rest of the torn up basil leaves and serve.