Oh, my heart is singing when I think about bacon garlic pasta! Who doesn’t like Italian food?! How can you not love the richness and simplicity of the signature tomato and garlic sauce?
I think we owe Italians big time for all the wonderful pastas, pizzas, meatballs, cheeses, olives, garlic, and basically all the happy times we share with family and friends while enjoying this brilliant cuisine. It has been celebrating its triumph for a number of good reasons in both Europe and Americas – simple, easy, nutritious, delicious, no fuss dishes designed to share! Oh, and full of garlic and tomatoes – my 2 favourite things! Yum 🙂
We all know how to cook bacon garlic pasta… or, do we?
Who doesn’t? Right? Well, the time of my internship at a travel agent office in Cracow proved me wrong, what I am eternally grateful for. My Italian boss would entertain sometimes at his place after work and cook authentic, traditional Italian food, which he was brought up on. Thanks to him I learnt how to cook THE BACON GARLIC PASTA.
He said many times that “bacon garlic pasta must be cooked with real Italian ingredients, otherwise it never tastes like at mamma’s”! I never ate at his mamma’s, but after tasting his food I know that he knew what he was talking about!
Dear friends, I am not trying to discover America here. Think of the times when you go abroad. Doesn’t Italian, Spanish, Greek, etc. food taste better when you are there? It does, because good cooks use authentic, local ingredients, which they recognize, trust and their recipes were created based on these local and trusted ingredients.
So, if you want your bacon and garlic spaghetti to taste like at mamma’s use what mamma would use. By cooking like mamma would I promise that the depth of flavour, the aroma, the joy of eating pasta will take you to Italy for the length of that meal.
To get bacon garlic pasta right use authentic Italian ingredients
- Use real Italian passata. In the bacon garlic pasta best quality passata is the number one ingredient you should put attention to. I think that Itallian brand Cirio is best and I have not found any other passata or tomatoes in a can, carton box or bottle that could compare to it. Cirio tomatoes are sweet and taste like they were grown in the sun, with love and care. There is no sourness or green seeds or overwhelming saltiness. I did try other brands, but they just don’t cut it for me.
- Use proper, dry-cured, smoked bacon (or pancetta otherwise). Good bacon is something you shouldn’t try to replace with cheap, water pumped alternative. Italians hate that. Bacon flavours the passata and you can’t compromise on this. If you put bacon in the pan and instead of sizzling it starts to release water that’s called yucky! Bacon should fry, not boil in the pan. If it boils first it loses up to 1/4 of its mass and proportions for any recipes are gone with the water that evaporates.
- Don’t use the lazy, jarred garlic as it is soaked in vinegar and ruins the overall flavour of the iconic bacon garlic pasta sauce. Use plump, fresh, healthy garlic cloves. You can adjust the flavour of the sauce to your liking by adding a bit of raw, freshly minced garlic at the end of cooking for the additional garlic kick.
- Don’t overcook pasta (cook it al dente – on the chewy side rather than mushy). At the last stage of preparing bacon garlic pasta, boiled pasta is added to the wet and hot sauce. This process will continue to cook the pasta for another few minutes therefore you don’t want to end up with overcooked tomato blob!
- 300 g of smoked bacon (pancetta or dry cured bacon is best)
- 500 ml good tomato passata (Cirio is my favourite)
- 6 cloves of fresh garlic – roughly chopped
- ⅓ teaspoon of sweet paprika
- 200 g pasta of your choice
- 100 g fresh Parmigiano Reggiano – grated
- Cook your pasta according to the instruction on the packaging (All dente takes about 7 minutes from the moment pasta goes into the boiling water, but this may vary depending on the thickness and type of pasta you want to use). After, using a colander, drain the hot water. Rinse your pasta in the colander with cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent it from sticking together. Set aside until the sauce is ready.
- In a wide pan with a high edge, on a slow to medium heat, brown roughly sliced bacon in its own, melting fat. If the bacon you use is very lean add a splash of olive oil.
- Add garlic and paprika and cook it with bacon for another 2 minutes or until garlic turns straw colour (don’t let it brown).
- Pour the passata into the pan, stir in 2 tbsp of Parmesan and let the bacon garlic pasta sauce simmer for 10 minutes so it reduces and thickens a bit.
- Add pasta to the sauce, mix together and serve immediately with plenty of Parmesan over.