I have meltdowns every so often. It happens when I am overtired, overly busy and stressed. I am not sure why I choose to make a new recipe when I am already having those kinds of obstacles, but the first time I made this recipe - I made it much more complicated than I should have because I skimmed the recipe and didn't actually read it before making this dish. I almost always read recipes all the way through, but of course being overwhelmed with life made me skip that step and caused further issues. I had a total meltdown in the while cooking when I realized I skipped a step/ingredient. In the end it still turned out tasty, but it caused more headaches then I needed. Master always loves walking into the kitchen with a hysterical crying slave (that was sarcasm). Anyway, I am seriously happy I tried this recipe again after the meltdown because I really love the flavor of this dish. It is so pretty to look at as well as eat. We have had it several time and every time we have it, I am amazed by the flavor.
6 strips bacon, diced
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup leeks, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
9 oz dry spaghetti noodles
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
Garlic Croutons - made mine but store bought would work
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Saute the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until crisp, then set aside on paper towel. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings, and drain off remaining oil.
Caramelize the tomatoes and sugar in the bacon drippings in large and deep skillet or sauce pan, over medium heat. Cook until tomatoes begin to soften and brown, approximately 3 minutes. Add the leeks and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until leeks soften.
Deglaze with wine and allow sauce to simmer until the wine is nearly evaporated and sauce is thick. Add the broth, vinegar, and pepper flakes. Simmer until reduced by 1/3, approximately 5 minutes.
Add the spinach, and bacon to the sauce, then add the cooked pasta. Toss lightly until pasta is well coated with sauce and tomato mixture is incorporated. Season with salt as needed. Top each serving with garlic croutons.
Makes 4 servings.
* Although I think deglazing always makes flavor more deep sometimes I skip deglazing steps and really in this case I think the caramelizing adds the depth of flavor to the tomatoes. So if you don't want to deglaze - you could up the chicken broth just a bit and skip the deglazing step. Need to up the broth, because if you skip the wine step you still need a little more liquid for sauce in the recipe.
* I am leaving 2 cups of spinach in the recipe, but I will say the last few times I have made this I have upped the spinach to 3 cups and like having more green in it. Really doesn't change flavor - just getting more green in the diet.
* If you don't have leeks, green onions work in a pinch too.