Penne with Broccoli, Aged Cheddar and Bacon
- Kosher salt
- 1 1 1 pound fresh penne pasta
- 1 1 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 1/2 1/2 lb. bacon, diced
- 4 4 4 cups small broccoli florets (from one large head)
- 3/4 3/4 3/4 cup pine nuts
- 1-1/2 1-1/2 to cups shredded aged cheddar cheese, or more to taste
- 1 1 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1. In a very large pot, bring 5 quarts of water and 3 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, about one minute less that the package directions. Occasionally give the pasta a stir so it doesn't stick together. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta.
2. Meanwhile, put a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and then the bacon. Cook until the bacon is almost crisp, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and pine nuts and cook until the pine nuts are light golden brown and the bacon is fully crisp, about 1 minute.
3. Add the reserved pasta water and deglaze the pan, scraping with a wooden spoon to get up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 minute.
4. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheddar cheese and red pepper flakes. when the cheese is melted and fully incorporated, add the cooked pasta to the pan, stirring it into the sauce. Serve immediately, topping with more cheddar if desired.