Have you ever had one of those odd evenings when for whatever reason you are on your own for dinner? It never seems to make much sense to slave over a hot stove for hours and make something fancy, so I always end up making the same thing. Its quick (easily made in 11 minutes flat), super easy, tastes totally awesome and has been in development for about 12 years now!
Those of you doing the math (def a fan of that) will realise I have been making this humble bowl of pasta since I was 13. It started life as a simple dish I could cook myself on random days I needed to head out again after school, grew into a perfect cheap student dinner and now its my go to on random nights home alone.
Enough of the nostalgia though, what is this pasta dish all about? Well, pasta of course, with a super quick but delicious tomato sauce overloaded with garlic and bacon and then finally much more cheese than strictly necessary to finish.
Now a final word on the pasta. For reasons best known to me, this dish is best made with pasta shells, the kind with three bumps to be precise. I’m not sure why, I’m sure it doesn’t add anything to the flavour, but I am slightly troubled by the fact that I don’t seem to be able to buy these from my local store anymore. As you can see from the picture, penne sort of works OK, but it’s just not the same 😀
11 Minute Tomato and Bacon Pasta (serves 1)
1 can tinned tomatoes
100g Pasta shells (3 bump kind)
3 rashers streaky bacon thinly sliced
1 clove garlic crushed (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning (or a mix of basil and oregano)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Salt and Pepper to season
1. Boil – First things first this party will only be over in 11 minutes if we start with a large pan of boiling water. Once this is boiling fiercely salt it liberally, I’m sure there’s an old Italian mama’s nugget of wisdom which says to cook pasta your water should be as salty as the Mediterranean. Throw in all the pasta and stir for just a second to make sure it doesn’t all stick to the bottom of the pot.
2. Fry – In a medium saucepan over a medium heat fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. Drain off any excess fat and return the pan to the heat. This keeps the good bacon flavour in the dish without making it too greasy. Add the garlic, letting heat through for a minute if using fresh garlic, followed by the tomatoes, tomato paste, dried herbs and seasoning. If the tomatoes are a bit sharp tasting then add a teaspoon of sugar to mellow slightly.
3. Simmer – Turn the heat down and leave the sauce to simmer for the time it takes the pasta to cook. I’m calling it 11 minutes because that’s how long my pasta takes to cook, but check by grabbing a piece out every now and then and tasting it (or, Sam would like me to add, you could just read the packet! :P).
4. Serve – When ready, drain the pasta and plate up. Stir the bacon back into the sauce (we kept them separate to make sure it stays crispy) and pour over the pasta. Finally drown in cheese!