This is a firm favourite in our family, however I can’t take any responsibility for the recipe as my mum found it years and years ago on the side of a packet of pasta. We call it simply ‘bacon pasta’ and have it almost every week. I don’t think that the name does it justice; I’ve tweaked it a little for the purpose of this blog.
Despite being fairly simple, it’s honestly one of my favourite meals – I think the combination of cheese, bacon and red pepper in a tomato sauce is an absolute winner.
Another great thing about this meal is you can make all the sauce ahead and then in the evening mix it in with cooked pasta and simply bake under the grill for a few minutes. Thankfully my mum was happy to pass on her wisdom and let me in on the recipe. As a family classic I felt like there was a lot riding on me to not mess it up!
Ingredients to serve four:
- One onion (£0.16, Tesco)
- Unsmoked bacon, (£1.50, 210g, Tesco)
- Red pepper (£0.60, Tesco)
- Tinned peeled tomatoes (£0.39, 400g, Tesco)
- Tomato purée (£0.50, Tesco)
- Wholewheat fusilli pasta (£0.59, Tesco)
- Mild cheddar (£1.50, 200g, Tesco)
- Begin by heating a little oil in a large saucepan over a low/medium heat. After a minute or two add the onion – chopped into small chunks – and brown for a few minutes.
- Whilst the onions are browning cut all visible fat off the bacon – use the whole packet – and then cut into small chunks that are roughly the same size as the onions. Then add them to the saucepan with the onions.
- Whilst the bacon is cooking chop up the red pepper into similarly small pieces. Keep an eye on the bacon and keep cooking and stirring it until it is all a light pink colour.
- When the bacon is cooked reduce the heat whilst you open the tin of tomatoes and empty them into a bowl with a tablespoon of tomato purée. Blend these two ingredients until smooth – remember that if you don’t have a blender you can substitute the tomatoes for the chopped variety instead.
- Add the tomato sauce, red peppers and ground pepper into the saucepan and increase the heat slowly, stirring all the ingredients together. When it is gently simmering place a lid on the saucepan and leave for 10 minutes.
- If you want to eat straight away then boil 300g pasta whilst the sauce is simmering. When they are both done combine them in one of the saucepans and mix, along with a handful of grated cheese. Transfer to a deep cooking dish, and place under the grill, topping with some more grated cheese. Leave for a few minutes, until the cheese has gone golden-brown. Then, it is ready to serve.
If you make the sauce in the morning, place it in a glass bowl and allow to cool before putting in the fridge. In the evening, put a little cling-film over the top of the bowl (don’t forget to cut a few holes!) and place in the microwave for 7 minutes. Then cook the pasta and bake under the grill as in step 6.
Total cooking time: roughly 15 minutes
Preparation time: roughly 15 minutes
Cost per portion: £1.31. This meal is really cheap and doesn’t even feel budget!
I think this turned out well, it’s a fairly simple meal so there wasn’t too much that could go wrong. As soon as I get to uni I will try it out on my housemates, hopefully they’ll like it as I intend on cooking it a lot!