Enjoy the taste of summer all year round!
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 macaroni, small shell pasta, linguine or spaghetti smothered in this sauce, accompanied by a salad and some crusty bread, is oh-so-satisfying and yummy! If you like this flavour combination as much as I do, you might also like my BLT pasta salad.
- 8 slices bacon, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 14 large Roma (plum) tomatoes (fresh or frozen), peeled and chopped*
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) hot red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) fresh ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley
- grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pound (450 grams) uncooked pasta (regular, whole wheat or gluten-free)
*Note: you can substitute fresh or frozen Romas with two 28 ounce (800 mL) cans of 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, about 3 minutes, 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). Reserve 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the hot, starchy cooking water and stir it into the bacon-tomato sauce.
- Drain pasta and distribute among 8 broad bowls or plates.
- When serving, generously garnish each both with chopped parsley.
- Pass the Parmesan at the table.
- Leftover sauce freezes well in airtight containers.
Serves 8; recipe can easily be halved or doubled.