Saturday, May 20, 2006

Rosemary, Tomato and Bacon Pasta Sauce

Pasta used to be my kids' favourite - the one thing that I could rely on that they'd all eat. Which was great cos I like cooking it too. It's the perfect thing for when you suddenly realise that it's nearly supper time, nothing's defrosted from the freezer and there wouldn't be time to cook anything else anyway. So we usually have it twice a week.

Sadly this dead-cert crowd pleaser has failed to please recently - maybe I've over done it over the years. I still like it, so does my husband and youngest, but the older two greeted me with groans and 'not too much' as I put a bare spoonful of the stuff on their plates. Anyone would think it was gruel (whatever that is) or gruesome offal. As my son carefully picks every trace of sauce off his pasta and my daughter gingerly munches two single penne before going for the yoghurt (natural with chopped apple - her choice) I wonder why I bother to cook simple things that they (ought to) like. I could cook something ridiculously sophisticated (if I could remember anything) that I knew they wouldn't like and it wouldn't be any different.

Anyway I'm not going to stop cooking it. I'll just feel freer to experiment with other sauces. I've stayed with the same two for ages, because they're the only ones they'll they don't eat those they might as well not eat some other ones too. So my Marcella Hazan books can come out of retirement. I love her books, genuine Italian traditional food, as you'd eat in Italy, not transformed by trendy resturants into nouvelle fusion art.

I was looking for a recipe that I remembered that combined bacon and rosemary as a pasta sauce, an elegant but robust (if it can be both at once) combination. When I looked at her recipe, which was long on butter and parmesan and sounded delicious, I had qualms as I'm supposed to be taking care of my husbands cholesterol levels and bacon, butter and parmesan in the same dish sound like red alert country to me. So I did my own version. Used olive oil and tomato instead, which turned out well (for me not the kids!).

Rosemary, Tomato and Bacon Pasta Sauce

For about 350g/12oz pasta
200g/6oz smoked bacon
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes or 4 fresh tomatoes peeled
salt and pepper

Chop the garlic finely. Chop the bacon into small strips. Saute them in the olive oil till the bacon has coloured but not got crispy. Add the rosemary. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes untill all the wateriness has gone and you have a nice dense sauce. Toss with the cooked pasta and serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

A handy tip: sometimes the sauce takes forever to reduce, especially if you stand over it. Don't. Go to your computer to check your emails or blog quickly, and miraculously, it'll be done - if you're lucky it will not be irredeemably stuck to the pan.


  1. Oh Kit this sounds great! We are real bacon lovers here in the midwest...and I just happen to have a nice healthy rosemary plant to snip off some leaves for...My downfall is always pasta...parmesan...butter...breads....all those foods that are bad news for high cholesteral...of which I suffer. It is genetic..although I am not more that maybe 20 lbs. over my ideal weight my cholesteral is sky dad is very thin and has been all his life and he has to take the meds and watch his closely...He will be 81 this summer and is in perfect health otherwise. I really need to get proactive on this as heart disease is the no.1 killer for women in US. Thanks so much for the fun recipe! And yes...I will check my emails while cooking the sauce!:)

  2. This sounds so delicious! And I do the same thing... make something tailored especially to what I think the kids will like and then they don't eat it anyway! So annoying.

    I'm supposed to be losing some weight, however, and I can control how much I eat of anything EXCEPT pasta, so this will have to be a special treat for me!

  3. My husband's cholesterol is also genetic. We're trying various homeopathic remedies to try and bring it down as well as herbal teas - green tea is supposed to be great for that as well as everything else. but he doesn't like it that much.
    I'll have to think of some yummy non fattening recipes to post...I'm sure that's not a contradiction in terms! I'm putting together a Food and Family website with all my favourite recipes on, I'll let you know when it's ready. I'll hoping to collect everybody else's favourites too so would love to hear your ideas.

  4. Sounds great Kit! I do lots more lighter, lower calorie recipes in the summer. I will try to post some soon for you. By the way...I like your profile are gorgeous! Jenny

  5. As a mega pasta eating family, this sounds delicious. I'll be trying it out on my kids.
    I can't wait to read more about food, family and life in South Africa on your blog.

  6. Thanks Jenny, it helps having a photographer for a husband! Fun bumping into you on Meredith's blog in Provence too, I'm enjoying travelling the world like this! I loved Provence, the few times I went there, that special hot herby smell on the mountains. Very envious of the cherry picking too, they're not grown much here.


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!