Gluten-Free Recipe of the Week #8: Bacon and Escarole Spaghetti

ROTW 8 via Positively FreeIf you’ve read my Monthly Meal Plan posts, you know I like to experiment with new recipes. Sometimes these experiments work out really well…and sometimes they don’t. Whenever I modify a recipe, I take lots of notes so that I can recreate it in the future if it turns out well.

For my reference and yours, I’ve decided to post my recipe experiments on this blog. I plan to post at least one recipe per week. I will include a link to the original recipe as well as allergen/special diet information, notes about my changes and lessons learned, pictures from various stages of cooking, and my overall impression of the dish. Most recipes will be main dishes, but I may also include desserts or snacks as well.  

Leave a comment below if you think there’s a recipe I might like to try for a future post!

This week’s recipe is Real Simple’s
Bacon and Escarole Spaghetti

Bacon & Escarole Spaghetti via Positively Free

*Please click HERE for a printable copy of this recipe*

Information for Top 8 Allergens

  • Contains:
    • DAIRY (for dairy-free, omit the cheese garnish—it’s still amazing!)
  • Free From:
    • Peanuts
    • Tree Nuts
    • Egg
    • Gluten (make sure to use GF spaghetti!)
    • Fish
    • Crustacean Shellfish
    • Soy (check labels)

Notes

  • This week’s meal features a brand-new (to us!) Le Veneziane pasta shape offering: spaghetti! Just like their penne, the Le Veneziane spaghetti is corn-based and the best substitute for gluten-full pasta I’ve ever used.
    GF Spaghetti via Positively Free

Check out all the new pasta shapes here.

  • This meal absolutely works for busy weeknights, especially if you prep the onion, bacon, and escarole in advance (or purchase pre-diced pancetta, onion, and/or escarole from the grocery store). I was happy to find pre-washed and pre-cut escarole on my weekly grocery trip and gladly took the opportunity to save some time. I prepped the onion and bacon myself because we already had both ingredients in our fridge/pantry. Have I mentioned that I keep bacon in our freezer at all times? Because I totally do.

Pre-Cut Escarole via Positively Free

  • Add the escarole before the tomatoes/sauce. It will be easier to toss everything together because the escarole will wilt faster.

Add Escarole via Positively Free

  • If you make the pasta in advance (or it cooks before you finish the sauce), make sure to add some olive oil (or Wegmans’ Basting Oil) to the drained pasta to ensure it doesn’t clump.

Patient Pasta via Positively Free

  • I decided to add the cooked pasta to the sauce before serving to re-heat the pasta and combine the flavors. Take care not to overcook the pasta if you decide to do the same. I’ve found that Le Veneziane pasta usually is al dente within 6-8 minutes of being added to the boiling water.

Add Pasta via Positively Free

Substitutions

  • Omit the cheese garnish if you need this recipe to be dairy-free. There is plenty of flavor (thanks to the bacon!) without it. NOTE: I had this for lunch the next day without cheese, and it was fabulous!
  • As I’ve mentioned, our family prefers pureed tomatoes to diced tomatoes. I simply blended up 2 cans of diced tomatoes (with some salt and pepper, for good measure) in our Vitamix to create more of a sauce for our meal. It was very tasty! If you’d prefer, you could use a jar of marinara instead of pureed tomato sauce.

Making Tomato Sauce 1 via Positively Free

  • As per usual, I used Wegmans’ Basting Oil in place of the olive oil to cook the bacon.

Cooked Bacon via Positively Free

  • I have lots of dried thyme in my pantry, so I used that instead of purchasing fresh thyme. I used about 1 teaspoon of dried thyme and added it with the onion, salt, and pepper in step 3 of the recipe.
  • If you want to save a step, purchase pre-cut GF pancetta and use that in place of bacon.

Pancetta via Positively Free

Additional Meal Components

I roasted some sweet potatoes in case we were still hungry, but there was no need for a side at this meal. We did finish off our meal with a fabulous dessert.

Verdict

Happy Boy via Positively FreeIn the time it takes to boil the pasta water and cook the spaghetti, you can create a special weeknight meal that is sure to please anyone who loves bacon (see picture of my son shoveling it into his mouth →).

I had never tried escarole before—it’s most similar to romaine hearts (mild flavor, crunchy texture) and adds a healthy dose of greens to the meal. No side salad needed! I was shocked to discover that the escarole was still crunchy after reheating this meal for lunch the next day, which makes it a great leftovers option. I can’t wait to make this meal again!

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