Every September, I freeze bushels of Roma tomatoes for use all winter long. Partially thawed, these versatile beauties are easy to peel and chop. Because my family would eat pasta seven days each week if I let them, I experiment often with sauces. This recipe is quick to put together and has a hearty, pleasing flavour that always reminds me of a BLT (bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich). You can use regular or double-smoked bacon, though the latter gives it a much more intriguing taste. A heaping bowl of tortellini, fusilli or spaghetti smothered in this sauce, accompanied by a salad and some crusty bread, is oh-so-satisfying and yummy!
8 slices bacon, chopped in ½ inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 large Roma (plum) tomatoes (fresh or frozen), peeled and chopped *
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound (450 grams) uncooked pasta (sneak some whole wheat pasta in there if you can!)
* Note: you can subsitute Romas with two 28 ounce cans low-sodium diced tomatoes
- Sauté bacon in a large saucepan until nearly crisp.
- Drain off all but about 3 tablespoons of the fat.
- Add onions to pan.
- Reduce heat and sauté until the onions are softened, then add garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer.
- Add tomatoes, black pepper and pepper flakes (if using) to pot and simmer over low heat 20 – 30 minutes. The sauce will thicken up as the tomatoes cook down.
- While sauce is simmering, cook pasta until just tender (al dente). Drain and distribute among 6 broad bowls or plates.
- When serving, garnish each both with chopped parsley.
- Pass the Parmesan at the table.
Serves 6; also freezes well.