2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ Pound Bacon, Cut Crosswise Into 1-Inch Pieces
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Teaspoons Lemon Zest
1 Cup Creme Fraiche
2 Cups Penne Pasta
2 Cups Halved Cherry Tomatoes
4 Cups Baby Arugula, Coarsely Chopped
Kosher Salt And Ground Black Pepper To Taste
1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper, Or To Taste
4 Tablespoons Freshly Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Or To Taste (Optional)
Step 1 Pour olive oil into a heavy skillet over medium heat, add bacon, and cook until almost crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat. Hold a paper towel with tongs and mop up excess bacon grease with the paper towel, leave about 2 teaspoons bacon grease in the skillet.
Step 2 Stir minced garlic and lemon zest into bacon in the skillet and let cook in residual heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir creme fraiche into the bacon mixture.
Step 3 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and stir in pasta. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and add pasta to the skillet. Stir pasta thoroughly into bacon and creme fraiche mixture.
Step 4 Return skillet to medium heat. Add tomatoes; cook and stir until slightly softened, about 1 minute. Mix in arugula, stirring until wilted, about 30 seconds, and turn off heat.
Step 5 Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir again and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serve with garlic toast and salad. Serves 4