Crispy bacon, tomatoes, garlic, cream, and Pecorino Romano make the perfect weekend pasta dinner in under 30 minutes!
The flavor of the sauce
This pasta dish has some similarities to the flavor of carbonara because you use some of the bacon fat from cooking the bacon to flavor the sauce and pecorino Romano or Parmigiana cheese. But with the addition of canned tomatoes and heavy cream, that creates a different flavor.
There are no eggs in this dish either which is traditional to carbonara. The sauce is a not as acidic as tomato sauce and not as heavy as a cream sauce, it’s somewhere right in the middle.
- You can omit the smoked paprika with red pepper flakes. If you like more heat in your sauce you can add more of either of these spices to taste.
- If you don’t want to use the reserved bacon fat, you can drain the saute pan after cooking the bacon and use olive oil instead.
- Spaghetti, fettucine, or penne noodles work well with this sauce.
- If you want an even creamier sauce, you can add more heavy cream to taste.
While you are
eating all the extra bacon cooking the bacon chop up the garlic and fresh tomatoes. Once the bacon is cooked, remove from the pan and reserve some of the fat. Sauté the garlic and smoked paprika until just fragrant, about 30 seconds or less, and quickly add the tomatoes to keep from burning the garlic. Simmer for a few minutes until the liquid is reduced and the tomatoes have thickened somewhat.
Add the salt, pepper, and dried oregano, then add the heavy cream. Stir to combine and add the cooked pasta and stir some more. Add the reserved pasta water to help it all come together, stir to combine everything, and remove from the heat.
Sprinkle fresh basil on top (optional).
Serve this pasta immediately and add the chopped bacon and sprinkle in lots of Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmigiana and freshly cracked pepper!! Are you drooling yet?
Bon Appetit Ya’ll,
Easy Creamy Tomato & Bacon Pasta
- One large pot for boiling the noodles
- One large deep saute pan for the sauce and mixing in the noodles
For the noodles
- 1 pound fettuccine, spaghetti, or penne pasta
- water for boiling pasta
For the sauce
- 8 oz bacon
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika or red pepper flakes
- 14.5-15 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/3 cup Plus 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 handful Pecorino Romano or Parmigiana shredded
- 1-2 tbsp Reserved pasta water
- salt and pepper
- fresh basil leaves optional
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions (or al dente). Reserve 1-2 tbsp of pasta water.Drain and set aside.
- Cook bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat until crispy. Set aside and reserve two tablespoons of fat from the pan.
- Over medium heat add olive oil, reserved bacon fat, the chopped garlic, and smoked paprika or red pepper flakes to the pan that you cooked the bacon in and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Immediately add diced tomatoes to the pan to keep garlic from burning and simmer until the liquid is reduced and the tomatoes have thickened. Season with a touch of salt and pepper.
- Once the tomato sauce has slightly thickened add the heavy cream and stir. Lower the heat to low and stir in the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water.Stir until it all comes together and thickens slightly, and season with salt and pepper again (if needed). Add a few fresh basil leaves and stir (optional).
- Shave some of the fresh Pecorino Romano or Parmigiana on top and toss in chopped bacon.
- Serve immediately and top with more cheese, bacon and black pepper.
- If you don’t have red pepper flakes or smoked paprika you can omit them from the recipe. The smoked paprika adds a smoky flavor or the red pepper flakes will add very subtle heat.
- If you like more heat or spice you can add more of either of these to taste.
- If you don’t want to use the bacon fat, you can drain it from the pan and use olive oil instead.
- If you want an even creamier sauce you can a bit more heavy cream.