Sunday, August 26, 2012

Farfalle With Bacon, Peas, And Sage

I had some things I wanted to say so, if you just want the tasty recipe and my thoughts on it, skip down to the last paragraph:).
I started this blog over a year ago for several reasons. These reasons, in no particular order, were to: share recipes with friends, push myself out of my comfort zone recipes, keep myself on track with a year of different dinners, and to promote eating meals together.  That last reason, while extremely important to my family and myself, seemed to be missing from the blog posts.  I found a page on facebook called the Shared Meal Revolution, and I was glad to be reminded of this vital part of the meal: the companions.  Until the last few years, our family meals were not a priority.  My husband works odd hours sometimes and not available for dinner. (I'd say 50% of the time.)  Even when he was home, we often "ate like Americans" (which was what we called it) in front of the TV.  One day, I saw a documentary filmed in England about obesity.  A young girl (about 15) was overweight despite the fact that she was athletic and young. (she was a member of her school's track team)  The girl was from a home with a single mom and their busy lives had relegated dinner to also entertainment hour in front of the TV.  The study they performed on her showed that if she sat in front of the TV with her favorite food, pizza, she ate 13 of the 15 slices, but if she sat at a table she only ate 8 of the 15. (these pieces were cut in squares like a flat bread) Well knowing that childhood obesity was an issue in the U.S., I decided that for the kids sake, we would eat as a family every night and no TV.  It was a bit awkward at first.  When you spend so little time talking with your family, you kind of turn it in to this superficial chat that includes lots of questions, like what did you do at school, when you asked that question in the car on the way home from school.  I think life is too short to not have things be fun, so I decided to come up with ways to make the meal as fun as it was when we were watching something on television.  We are a game loving family.  We like video games, board games, logic puzzles, etc... and we all like cooking and cooking shows.  My first thing we did to make dinner fun was the ingredient guessing game.  We would take turns (not me, I cooked it:) guessing ingredients in the dish of the evening and who ever had the most points at the end of the game, won.  My 10 year old was surprisingly good at the game.  Now a year later the 2 year old loves to guess foods, even if they aren't in the dish;).  The game had other benefits besides family time; the game has forced us to think about what we are eating, improved our palates and slowed down our meal as we examine, taste, chew and think.  The other initial thing we did as a family was read Encyclopedia Brown stories.  If you aren't familiar with the series, it is about a 10 year old boy who is brilliant at solving his father's (chief of police) unsolved crimes.  The story is read, not the solution; the solution is at the back of the book.  We would take turns reading the short story and then discuss over dinner the case and make our guess.  After we finished, we would read the solution and see who, if any, were correct.  I had some books from when I was a child, but I quickly ordered every other available one from B&N so we could have one each dinner.
Well that was great but finite, and our ingredient guessing game was going quicker as we got better so I wanted to add to our repertoire of dinner fun.  We started reading long chapter books.  The first person done would start reading and we would read at least a chapter even if we were all done eating.  I loved sharing some of my favorite books with my kids.  Short stories are nice and great for the instant satisfaction, but the longer books were like looking forward to the next episode of you favorite TV show and we weren't allowed to read ahead without everyone present.  Since my husband can't always be home for dinner there were nights without reading, and that's when I noticed, it was fun and great, but no longer necessary.  We chatted much easier with each other.  I thought back to all the lunches with friends and always knew they were bonding moments where we take time out of our lives to reconnect, but never applied this to my family.  I believe that since we made the commitment to take that time together, we have improved our lives in many ways.  We are better friends with each other.  When we share a meal with friends, we bond with them more than we did before.  We are happier and have a moment that is forcibly slowed down from our normal hectic pace.  We eat less but eat more of the healthier parts of our meal.  (Ever tried to have a dinner plate and a salad plate on your lap on the couch?  Yeah, me either.)  The net result was my family was happier and healthier.
I know most of my posts focus on the recipe because I know you are not pining away for the latest score of the ingredient guessing game, but I wanted to take time to restate this part of the meal that, like salt, makes it, even if you don't think about it's presence.

As for the recipe, YUM!  It was quick and easy and decadently delicious.  For health reasons, this should feed 6-8 with a big salad, but you are going to want to eat more than 1/8 of the dish;).  It is also inexpensive.  My only advice is watch the sage.  If you are not a huge fan, reduce that precise measurement of "a small handful" to "a couple of good pinches".

Farfalle With Bacon, Peas, And Sage

14    ounces dried farfalle
2 T  olive oil
5    ounces thick-sliced lean bacon,chopped
1    large garlic clove,minced
1 1/4 c  heavy cream
1 c  green peas,thawed if frozen
2/3 c  freshly grated Parmesan plus extra for sprinkling
Small handful each of fresh sage and flat-leaf parsley,leaves only

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Tip in the farfalle and cook
according to the package directions until the pasta is al dente.
Heat the oil in large saucepan and add the bacon. Fry over high heat
until the bacon is golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and fry
for a minute. Pour in the cream and bring to a boil. Let simmer until
reduced and thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Tip in the peas, bring
back to a simmer, and cook for 3-4 minutes longer. Stir the grated
Parmesan into the sauce, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander and immediately tip
into the sauce. Add the herbs and toss the pasta until well coated with
the creamy sauce. Divide among warm plates and sprinkle with a little
more Parmesan before serving.


  1. What a fabulous story! Very heartwarming and your strategies were very resourceful, smart and practical...and you customized to what was appealing for your game-loving family..brilliant! I'm very impressed with your dedication to your family and I'm thrilled that you all have found a closer bond with one another. I look forward to hearing more of your adventures...and sharing with you!

  2. I love the idea of the guessing game! What a creative way to get everyone involved. I'm definitely guilty of eating "like an American". My husband and I love to park it in front of the TV or computer and eat. Our dining room table is mainly where I do bills and such - but rarely eat. Our priorities have changed though. It's been just me and my husband for so long - and now that we have a baby, we want to start eating like a family. I agree that it is extremely important to have meals together and bond. We both want to start eating at the table with the baby (even though he only eats breast milk right now). Thanks for this post - it's motivated me to clear off the dining room table and start eating my meals with my husband (not my computer).

    PS - love the recipe!! I only use sage for a handful recipes (usually Thanksgiving and Christmas) and I really want to start using it more. Plus, who doesn't love bacon and pasta?

  3. Thank you Carol:) Laurie, my family ate like that for years, but I can't be happier that we don't:) It was very tasty, but I cringe if I think about it's calores:0! I'm glad you are nursing, I did with both my kids for about a year.