Do you love Cooks Illustrated (not to be confused with Sports Illustrated)? Also sometimes known as America's Test Kitchen? In addition to their magazine and TV show they have a series of "Best" cookbooks. They try small variations of a recipe dozens of times to make sure that they get the very best recipe out there. One of their "Best" cookbooks is The Best 30-Minute Recipe. I have tried multiple recipes from here with great success. I have been able to get them all done within 30 minutes but I'll admit that if you are a beginner cook and don't want to think about chopping one item while another item is browning then it will probably take a little longer.
Of course I was immediately drawn to this recipe because, well, it had bacon in the title. Besides my love for bacon, it sounded like gourmet comfort food. It was spaghetti so I figured that my kids would eat it, but adding in spinach, fontina cheese, and fresh toasted bread crumbs made it much more special that regular spaghetti.
I never thought of adding bread crumbs to a spaghetti but that curnch really makes the dish. If you just can't be bothered to make your own bread crumbs I would use panko as a substitute. Panko would be a better texture than the regular bread crumbs you would buy at the store.
Spaghetti with Spinach, Bacon, and Bread Crumbs
2 slices good quality sandwich bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves minced garlic
6 slices bacon chopped
1 small onion minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 pound spaghetti
1 12 ounce bag baby spinach
1 cup grated fontina cheese
Start by boiling the water for the spaghetti. While the water is heating make bread crumbs by tearing bread into quarters and pulsing in a food processor with the olive oil to make coarse crumbs.
In a 12 inch skillet toast bread crumbs over medium high heat stiring frequently until they beging to brown. Add half the garlic and continue to cook for another minute until crumbas are fragrant and golden. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl and set aside for later. Wipe out skillet with paper towels and you can use it to make the sauce.
Cook and drain the pasta while making the sauce but reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water in case you need it to add to the sauce. Add the bacon to the clean skillet and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until you have enough bacon grease in there to cook the onion in. Add the minced onion and cook until bacon is crisp and onion is soft and golden. Add remaining garlic and the red pepper flakes and cook only about 30 seconds before adding the broth. Use the broth to scrap up the yummy browned bits of bacon and heat to a simmer. Then turn off the heat and add sauce to cooked spaghetti.
Add the spinach a handful at a time and cook until wilted. Add fontina cheese and stir until melted. Add reserved pasta water if necessary if the pasta seems too thick. Sprinkle bread crumbs over individual servings (so they don't get soggy when stored with the leftovers)