Pasta Night


Between work, travel, and house guests, I haven’t been in the kitchen as much as usual. I did, however, make this pasta which has become one of our favorite dishes as well as one of the most frequently cooked meals in our house. It is simple to put together and so delicious. It combines three of my favorite flavors: bacon, onions and tomatoes. Great for a casual dinner in front of the tv but good enough for company.


This recipe was inspired by an Alice Waters recipe I came across years ago. Although I have pretty liberally adapted this and made it my own, it is in keeping with her style. Most of you have already seen this on other food sites, but for those of you who have not- I encourage you to watch this 60 Minutes piece on Alice Waters. It is a really nice profile of one of my heroes. It is particularly exciting in light of the vegetable garden that is being planted on the White House grounds.


Pasta with Bacon and Onions (serves 4)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 7 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or 10 whole canned tomatoes, drained and chopped)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 12-16 ounces penne pasta

In a medium saucepan over medium, heat the oil. Add the bacon and cook until browned and the fat is rendered. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.

To the fat in the pan, add the onion. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and stir. Add the white wine and cook for a minute or two until most of the wine has evaporated. Add the tomatoes and a generous amount of salt (a teaspoon or so?). Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Add the bacon and basil and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

While the tomatoes cook, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and add to the finished sauce. Toss pasta and sauce and serve topped with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese.

*** Just use recipe as guidelines, feel free to adjust as you like.  I sometimes use more or less tomatoes, other herbs, etc.. This week I even made it with some canned crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes and it was still delicious.

23 comments to “Pasta Night”

  1. Beautiful :)

  2. Yum.

  3. I wish pasta night at our house was this good. I can’t wait for my tomatoes to grow from our garden and try it!

  4. t- this is so good with fresh tomatoes. you’ll love it!

  5. Plainfield reunion @ Chez Panisse? Make it happen.

    p.s. your photographs are just smashing.

  6. The 60 Minutes piece was great…and they’re putting in the vegetable garden at the White House. Your pasta is just perfect!

  7. Beautiful and honest!

  8. Yum! Classic and lovely.

  9. Oh – I could eat this every day!

  10. I am totes gonna make this!

  11. You totes should!

  12. bacon. it’s what’s for dinner.

    in my opinion, when i eat out if i can’t get bacon on it i would rather starve. ironic, because i have the appearances of being a preppy vegetarian.

  13. That upclose fork picture is incredible!

  14. Yes to the bacon. A resounding yes!

  15. Tim: This looks so delicious! I’m beginning to think that anything inspired by Alice Waters is fine by me. Wonderful photos.

  16. T- think this would be good with prosciutto instead of bacon cuz I have some to use up….?

  17. Yeah, Steph- it would still be good. Not the same, but good. I think I actually tried it that way once and liked it.

  18. Made this last night — a hit with the whole family (well, everyone over 2). The bacon fat gives the sauce a rich, creamy quality that reminds me of the refined, cream-enriched (and much more labor intensive)tomato sauces I made in culinary school. I’m always on the lookout for easy, inexpensive, family-style dinners and this one’s a winner. Thanks, Tim!

  19. Wow! This recipe is Fantastic!

    Wonderful, delicious, rich, will absolutely make again.
    I love your site, the pictures, the recipes – delicioso!

  20. So glad you liked it, Ali!

  21. Great dish for this winter eve. I used a can of San Marzano whole tomatoes and let it simmer down a bit. Thanks for the great, easy, wholesome recipe!!

  22. I made this last night and I must say – it was delicious!

  23. My husband hates tomatoes AND penne but I made this tonight and just before adding the basil and bacon in, I put the sauce in the food processor and turn it into a smooth sauce, then added the remaining ingredients and.. he loved it! It was so creamy and rich tasting, with a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano, will definitely make it again :)

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