Occasionally I come across these wonderful smoked, nitrate free, uncured bacon "ends" produced locally here in Texas. Curiously these inexpensive packages often contain leaner pieces of meat than their counterpart "pretty" packaged bacon strips.
I like to dice these ends up and fry them with onions and garlic, the beginnings of either a hearty chowder or in this case a delicious pasta dish. I'll swap out lean prosciutto, whenever these bacon ends are unavailable.
1/4 lb lean smoked bacon or prosciutto, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced (8oz pkg)
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 tsp Better than Bouillon, Mushroom Base
1-2 sprigs of thyme
1-2 pinches of red pepper flakes
6-7 oz dried fusilli, about 2 generous cups
1/2 cup green peas, either fresh or frozen and defrosted
2 tbsp heavy cream
freshly grated pepper, to taste
Place the diced bacon or prosciutto into a cold deep skillet or wok. Place on a medium-low burner and when it begins to sweat, add the garlic and onion. Fry the mixture until the onion is translucent and begins to brown.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil and cook the fusilli according to the directions on the package until al dente; probably 8-11 minutes. Drain. Rinse with water only if the sauce isn't finished by the time the pasta is ready.
Increase the heat a touch and stir the mushrooms, sherry, mushroom bouillon, thyme and pepper flakes into the bacon and onion mixture. When the the mushrooms are cooked and more than half of the liquid has reduced in volume (about 8 minutes), stir in the peas.
Cook the peas for a minute or two, just enough to heat them through, then stir in the cream. Check and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Add some freshly grated pepper, if desired.
Toss with the drained fusilli and serve immediately.