Linguine with Bacon, Spinach and Breadcrumbs

Do you ever try recipes on the back of food packaging? Like the cookie recipe on the back of chocolate chips, or a casserole recipe on a can of condensed soup. I usually don't. I feel like the recipes are too generic. But the recipe on the box of Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Linguine caught my eye: "Linguine with Bacon, Baby Spinach and Sage." Of course I saw the recipe when I was in the process of making dinner, so I modified dinner plans and made it. I changed a few things (including adding toasted Panko breadcrumbs—brilliant if I say so myself), and it was divine! The breadcrumbs add so much dimension and texture—you'll feel like you're eating an expensive pasta dish! ;) One of my favorite *light* pasta dishes (not tons of cheese, and bright fresh flavors), healthy, and perfect for summer! So make this and dig in!

Linguine with Bacon, Spinach and Breadcrumbs

1 (13.25-oz) box of Ronzoni Healthy Harvest linguine
6 slices of turkey bacon (or more to your taste...or real bacon of course)
1 onion, finely diced
2–4 cloves of garlic, minced (my addition)
1 1/3 cups chicken stock (I used chicken bouillon)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves, or to taste (I didn't have this so I used about 2 Tbsp of a spice mixture called "herbs de provence" which has basil, marjoram, thyme, sage, savory and rosemary)
1 red bell pepper, chopped (my addition)
1/2 lb baby spinach leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, OR 2 sticks of string cheese, cut into circles (I was out of parmesan and improvised)
Chicken, optional (Stew said it would be good with chicken too, and I agree)
1/2–1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (my addition)

Cook pasta according to directions.
While pasta is cooking, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until desired crispness. Add onion, pepper and garlic and saute 5–6 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in chicken stock and sage; simmer 1–2 minutes. Add spinach and cook until spinach just wilts. Salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, heat small skillet over medium heat and add breadcrumbs. Stir as necessary and WATCH CAREFULLY! They toast fast!
Toss linguine with sauce and serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese (or add string cheese circles with spinach), and don't be shy with the breadcrumbs!

Two sad stories about this dish:
1. When I went to drain the pasta, the lid (I have a lid that has a built-in strainer on it—love it) wasn't closed all the way and half the pasta went straight down the drain! I had to cook more pasta!
2. When I leftovers for lunch I totally forgot to put the breadcrumbs on! I even kept them in a little container on the counter for that purpose! :(


Amanda said…
Looks and sounds delicious! You wouldn't be a real cook if you hadn't lost some pasta down the sink at least once in your career :)

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