Thursday, February 11, 2010

Smoky-Spicy Bacon Pasta

There are recipes we get from books and there are recipes we get from life. These are recipes that are cobbled together over time, perhaps never really settling into what one might call a fixed “recipe”. These are recipes that reflect what we love most, or what’s almost always available in our pantry, or what is easy and good…or any combination thereof.

This is the kind of pasta dish that is often made in our home. It evolved over the span of our marriage (still a young one at that), not consciously moving towards an actually recipe, more often just coming together when we were busy, or hadn’t been to the grocery in a while, or hadn’t really thought about what to have for dinner. It is made with ingredients that we (almost) always have on stock and can be prepared with minimal effort and fuss.

That is not to say that this is some sort of second string meal without thought or care. When we sit down to a bowl of this pasta it is still with much eagerness, and its consumption is met with many mmm’s of pleasure and contentment.

Smoky-Spicy Bacon Pasta
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (leaves only…but don’t toss the stems!)
  • Chopped parsley stems (from your chopped parsley leaves above)
  • 130 grams chopped bacon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pimenton de la vera (or to taste…depends how smoky you like it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste…depends on how spicy you like it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 400-gram can crushed or chopped tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup green olives, pitted
  • A pinch of sugar (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 300 grams macaroni or penne, or any pasta you prefer

- Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic, onion, and parsley stems and sauté until the onion is soft.
- Add the bacon to the pan, toss and cook until bacon begins to curl and get golden around the edges but is still soft.
- Add pimenton, cayenne, and Italian seasoning. Toss to coat the bacon and cook a bit just until the aroma of the herbs and spices wafts up and makes your mouth water.
- Add tomatoes and simmer slowly until the tomatoes start getting thick and pulpy, and melting into a sauce and the oil starts to separate. You can help out by crushing the tomato chunks with the back of your spoon.
- Prepare your pasta as per package directions while the sauce is simmering.
- Taste your sauce and season with salt and pepper as you see fit. Add just a bit of sugar to bring out the tomatoes sweetness (I do not have the privilege of vine-ripened toms). Taste again and add dashes of cayenne or pimenton if you’d like to up the heat and /or smokiness.
- Serves two.

As this is quite an easygoing dish, you can adapt and alter as you see fit. We often do depending on what we have on hand or what our fancy happens to be at that particular time. Tomatoes for C, bacon for me. The smoky heat we both enjoy. Leave out the olives if you don’t have them (we usually have a bottle as C insists we always have one on stock for “pasta”). Use more fresh herbs if you’ve got them. Adjust the pimenton and cayenne to your liking. Add some wine that was leftover from the night before. Make it your own.

Although I love pouring through my cookbooks, ticking recipes to try, shopping for the ingredients and pulling them together, and then eventually (or not) posting them here, it is dishes like this pasta that make up the building blocks of our table and our life.


Ed Schenk said...

YOu canlt go wrong with bacon!

Divina Pe said...

Beautiful. I always have bacon in the freezer, that's for sure. :) I think I have all the ingredients on the recipe. I love that smokey-spicy taste which is just simply irresistible. Now, I'm hungry at 11:41PM.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So mouthwatering! Bacon makes everything irresistible!



Amy said...

I agree, you can't go wrong with bacon. I think a lot people don't think of bacon with pasta, but it is delicious. Great recipe.

WizzyTheStick said...

Mmmmmm, must have me a bowl of this. Looks like the kind of meal to just curl up in front of the TV...the kind of dish where you know before you start that you will be having seconds

♥peachkins♥ said...

wow,it looks really good..

ChichaJo said...

Hi Ed! You certainly can’t! :) I love bacon :)

Hi Divina! Me too! Which is why it’s so easy to whip up this dish ;)

Hi Rosa! I agree!

Hi Amy! One of my favorite pasta sauces is all'amatriciana which is made with guanciale (pork cheek) and another favorite is arrabbiata which is spicy – this is probably my subconscious attempt to combine the two using pantry staples :)

Hi Wizzy! Exactly! :)

Thanks Peachkins!

Trissa said...

Hi Jo - totally agree with you. I love reading and collecting cookbooks but there are the few handy recipes that I can't live without. This might have to go into my collection of those! Have a great weekend.

Junglefrog said...

Those are my favorite kinds of pasta and pasta is so well suited to be good with almost anything! We use it a lot to get rid of leftovers or excess stuff we have in the cupboards. This looks lovely!

pippapatchwork said...

I love a good pasta. I know pastas tend to have the reputation of being simple/humble dishes, but they're often the best. And I agree with everyone--you just can't go wrong with bacon!

Skip to Malou said...

You can't go wrong with bacon. You can whip up anything with it. Today I made mongo with bacon which I will be posting shortly.

Bacon and pasta that's a perfect marriage right there! Your picture is stunning... it's screaming PASTA-LICIOUS!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Trissa! Yes, no matter how many cookbooks I get, we will always have these “old faithful” recipes in our lives :) Happy weekend to you as well!

Hi Junglefrog! We do too (use pasta to get rid of leftovers)! Makes them new again :)

Hi Pippa! I agree…I am always up for a bowl of pasta, and you can dress it up or down as you like :) And of course bacon is always welcome!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Malou! Thanks! Yes, definitely can’t go wrong with bacon…I make monggo with bacon too sometimes, bacon and chorizo to give it a Spanish influence :)

Paz said...

Mmm... Mmmm... Good!


cookeaze said...

Can’t wait to try the Pasta.I am seriously impressed by your Pasta-making skills!Good share..

kellypea said...

We'd really enjoy this. It sounds quick and full of flavor -- but bacon has a tendency to do that, right? :)

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Paz :)

Hi Cookeaze! Hope you like it :)

Hi Kellypea! Heehee, you bet! Bacon makes everything better :)

Midge said...

Oh, my! That looks colorful and delicious!

Manggy said...

This almost sounds like the impromptu sauce I make here - but I love how you are such a fan of smoked paprika! :) I should do that soon.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Midge! Thanks! :)

Hi Manggy! This is very much an impromptu sauce :) Yes, you’ve caught me…I LOVE pimenton de la vera! You must get the authentic ones with the denominacion de origen. It really makes a difference in taste!