I know that I’m committing a food blog faux pas–it’s almost Easter, where are the happy, cutesy cupcakes?–but I don’t care. It’s been a rough week, and everything is better with bacon, right?
This recipe is all about comfort. The first time I tried it was over a year ago when I was just coming out of three solid months of morning sickness. It was the first “real” food that actually sounded good to my pregnant brain. (Bowls of cereal for dinner just doesn’t feel like “real” food to me, although it is comforting in its own way.) My husband cooked it for me, so that added to the love I felt when I ate it.
I’m also fairly proud of this recipe. I started with a traditional bucatini all’amatriciana recipe from one of my food heroes, but I modified it to make it a little more kid-friendly (short campanelle is easier for my kids to eat than squirmy bucatini & I cut back on the spiciness). I swapped bacon for the usual pancetta because I wanted a bit of smokiness, especially since I had dialed back on the red pepper flakes. In the end, the kids ate it up happily and I felt satisfied with my tweaks on a classic.
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups sliced red onions
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound campanelle (see Notes below for other options)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
- salt & pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Saute the red onion slices until they are softened (about 5 minutes). Push the onions to one side and add the bacon to the other side (see photo above). When the bacon starts to render its fat, mix the onions & bacon together. Continue to saute until the bacon is slightly crispy and the onions are caramelized (about another 5 minutes).
- Add the garlic & red pepper flakes to the Dutch oven and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute). Dump in the tomatoes. Rinse the can out with about 1 cup of water and add that to the Dutch oven. Season with salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Cook the campanelle in the pot of salted water according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese. Serve with extra cheese on top.
Time: 30 minutes
Notes: I really like campanelle in this recipe because it has frilly edges that grab the sauce. But if you can’t find campanelle, substitute your favorite short tubular pasta (like penne or rigatoni) for it.