Without a doubt, BLTs are one of our favorite summer meals. They make it onto the menu at least once every couple of weeks.  After all, we have to take advantage of summer tomatoes while we have them.  As with anything, better ingredients makes for a much better meal – fresh tomatoes, local bacon, homemade bread of one kind or another.  This particular week, we were completely out of any homemade bread that would work for a sandwich but then I recalled seeing this dish in one of my new cookbooks and decided to mix it up a bit.

To say this was a resounding hit would be an understatement. With Caroline who loves anything involving pasta, with Ben and Andrew who think bacon is the greatest, and with me, who enjoyed the complete and total silence at the dinner table while this was being devoured. That kind of peace is exceedingly rare but I’ll take what I can get. Since lettuce doesn’t do so well tossed with warm pasta, we’ll say the “L” stands for leafy green – use whatever you like best.  Arugula could work, but we used baby spinach.  I’ll be sure to keep this in mind next time I’m in need of a chaos-free meal.

  • Yield 6-8 servings


1 lb. pasta shapes, such as mini shells
12 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
12 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
5-6 oz. leafy greens, such as baby spinach
2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup), plus more for serving
Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 01

    Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook just until al dente according to the package directions.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the skillet. Add the garlic and tomatoes to the pan and cook until the tomatoes are just slightly softened, about 2 minutes.

  • 03

    Drain the pasta, reserving 1½ cups of the pasta water.  Return the drained pasta to the pot, along with the spinach, bacon, garlic-tomato mixture, 1 cup of the reserved pasta water and Parmesan. Stir well until evenly combined and until the spinach is wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add remaining reserved pasta water as needed. Serve warm with additional grated Parmesan.