A most no-fuss dish that requires only 8 or less ingredients, I love how this can be varied into a meatless option. Just switch out the bacon, up the amount of olive oil and voila, the vegetarians can partake! I've added garlic to my version of this classic, because I find it adds aroma and flavour, and switched up the sequence of ingredients to toss into the pan to prevent clumping.
Ingredients (feeds 2):
200 grams linguine (you can use whichever string pasta you prefer)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 strips streaky bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
100 grams arugula (this is the uncooked measurement)
3 tbsp pinenuts
4 tbsp salt
1) Heat bacon strips in pan till sizzling and crisp. Remove, cut into 1"-dice and set aside, leaving the bacon renderings in the pan.
2) In the meantime, add pasta into boiling salted water (4 tbsp salt to 4L water) until just before it's al dente, about 3 minutes.
3) Add olive oil to the bacon fat, and fry garlic in olive oil-bacon fat until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4) Return bacon and heat through.
5) Add pasta, with 2 tbsp pasta water, and toss to coat evenly with garlic and oil.
6) Add arugula and toss thoroughly until arugula wilted, about 1 minute.
7) Turn off the heat before dumping in pinenuts and 3 tbsp parmesan to taste, and toss. The heat has to be switched off and minimal parmesan added here at this stage so the parmesan doesn't clump up.
8) Serve with extra lashings of Parmesan and freshly ground pepper.
Vegetarian variation: This was what I whipped up last weekend at a luncheon I hosted at home. Terrible plating, I know, but the food's what counts!