Before I begin rolling out my Autumnal inspired dishes and pumpkin-infused desserts (of which I have oh so many this year,) I thought I’d share a quick, easy and universally beloved side dish recipe for those of you who plan on throwing the biggest and boldest of Labor Day Weekend cookouts, backyard BBQs and/or beachside celebrations to properly send off the Summer season- and who might need a little extra flavor to serve alongside your hamburgers, hot dogs or lobster rolls.
With bacon, broccoli, garlic and cayenne (among other flavors!)– this pasta salad recipe is sure to be a hit whether you serve it fresh from the oven or chill it for a few hours before your guests arrive. It’s packed with flavors and textures that take it to a whole other level of deliciousness and well beyond the basic salt/pepper and celery salt version you can find in any local deli.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 12 ounces bacon, diced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon brown mustard
- ¼ cup malt vinegar
- 1 pound bite-sized pasta (for this one, I used penne.)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Season the bacon generously with black pepper. Add the bacon to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until very crisp.
2. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on absorbent paper towels. Carefully pour ½ cup of the bacon fat into a medium bowl. Discard the remaining grease and let both the bacon and the grease cool slightly.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Arrange the broccoli in an even layer on the baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and then roast until lightly golden and tender, 17 to 20 minutes.
5. While the broccoli roasts, whisk the cooled bacon grease with the mustard and vinegar to combine.
6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package’s instructions. Drain and let cool slightly.
7. In a medium bowl, stir the bread crumbs with the lemon zest, garlic powder and cayenne to combine. Add the melted butter and toss to coat.
8. When the broccoli is tender and golden, remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over the broccoli in an even layer. Return to the oven for 5 minutes more.
9. Toss the cooled pasta with the dressing to coat. Fold in the broccoli and the bacon.
10. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container (it should remain fresh for up to three days.)
A good pasta salad seemed like the most fitting way to wrap up my Summer recipes series for the year- and this one has been a longtime favorite for my friends, family and myself for quite some time now. It’s pretty filling all on it’s own- and could be considered the main dish by itself!
I’m excited to return to more recipes once I’m back from Texas in a couple of weeks. I’ve been saving all sorts of Fall ones for the coming weeks/months ahead- and I’m sure I’ll pick up ideas during my travels for plenty more Summertime meals to prepare for next year!