According to Hollywood set designer Joe Bevacqua, this is Sophia Loren’s favorite pasta dish. Surprisingly, it is made with American-style smoked bacon and dried pasta; it’s too hearty for delicate fresh noodles.

Bacon and Tomato Pasta
Recipe type: Pasta
Serves: 4
  • 1/2 pound smoked bacon; cut into 1" lengths
  • 1 Cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 Cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh or drained canned tomatoes
  • 1 Cup packed chopped fresh basil
  • 4 Quarts water
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound dried pasta such as penne or rigatoni
  • 1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
  • fresh basil sprigs; for garnish
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese; for passing (preferably Parmiggiano-Reggiano)
  1. Place the bacon in a saute pan or skillet over medium-low heat and cook until done but not crisp. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of the chopped basil in a food processor or blender and coarsely puree. Transfer to the bacon and onion mixture.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. In a large pot, bring the water to a rapid boil. Stir in the salt. Drop in the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain.
  5. Meanwhile, drizzle the heavy cream into the simmering sauce, then add remaining 1/2 cup chopped basil. Heat through, then toss with the drained pasta, garnish with the basil sprigs, and serve immediately. Pass the cheese at the table.
Serves 6 to 8 as a pasta course, or 4 as a main course.

Recipe Source: JAMES McNAIR'S PASTA COOKBOOK by James McNair

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