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Bucatini with Chicken, Hickory Bacon, Orange Pepper and Pesto

Bucatini with Chicken, Hickory Bacon, Orange Pepper and Pesto

This is my friend Tadhg’s recipe- the kids call it Tadhgs sauce-but he tends to change it a little bit pretty much every time he makes it, and put in whatever he sees around the kitchen, so it was quite difficult to follow him around, measuring things, and come up with an actual recipe! It might seem to have some incongruous ingredients for a pasta dish, but trust me- it’s incredible flavorful and delicious!

makes six servings

chicken:

1/2 pound pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander 

pasta:

8 slices hickory smoked bacon, chopped (1/2-inch pieces)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 pound bucatini
1 cup coarsely chopped orange bell pepper
3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
5 ounce baby spinach
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup pesto ( recipe follows )
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts ( toasted in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant )
1/4 cup finely grated Locatelli Romano cheese, plus more for serving

for the chicken:

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the olive oil, wine, ginger, and spices. Add the chicken, stir to coat evenly, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Place the marinated chicken in a medium size skillet over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl, cover, and set aside.

for the pasta: 

Put a large pot of water on to boil over high heat.

In the same skillet that you cooked the chicken in, cook the bacon, over medium heat until browned, but not crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and set aside with the chicken.

Heat the 1/3 cup oil with the butter in a shallow Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is very tender, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the bucatini to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 10-12 minutes. 

Add the pepper, corn, and spinach to the Dutch oven, and cook until the pepper is just tender and the spinach is wilted, 2-3 minutes. Add the cream, pesto, pine nuts, and cheese to the Dutch oven and cook for a few minutes longer, stirring to incorporate. Drain the bucatini, and add to the vegetables and sauce with the reserved chicken and bacon, tossing gently to blend all of the ingredients. Serve immediately with additional grated cheese.

pesto:

Place the following ingredients into a blender and process until smooth :

3 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Locatelli Romano cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

( to toast the nuts, place on a baking sheet in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes )