Orecchiette with Bacon and Tomato Sauce

Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

To give basic tomato sauce an extra kick, turn to bacon and red-pepper flakes. Just a little of each gives the sauce a lightly spicy, smoky flavor.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces

  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes

  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 1 pound orecchiette or other short pasta

  • Grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley, for serving


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add bacon and cook until browned and almost crisp, about 4 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes and stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking them up as you go, and season with salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water, cook pasta 1 minute less than package instructions. Reserve cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

  3. Add sauce and pasta water to pasta and toss to combine; cook over medium-high until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate 3 cups pasta for a separate dish. Serve remaining pasta topped with Parmesan and parsley.

Cook's Notes

Store the leftover pasta in a resealable container in the refrigerator; use it to make a Pasta and Cheese Frittata.

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