• Measuring spoons
• Cutting board & cutting knife
• Medium-large pot, with lid
• Empty can, or small heat-proof dish, for bacon fat
• Wooden spoon
• Oven mitts
• Large pot with lid
• Large sieve for draining pasta
• 8 slices of bacon, chopped
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
• 1 28 oz (796 mL) can of crushed tomatoes
• 1 Tbs of fresh thyme, rosemary or oregano
• Sea salt & freshly-ground pepper, to taste
• 1 454 g (1 lb) box of penne (use gluten-free, if necessary)
• Grated Parmesan for serving (optional)
1. Toss the bacon into a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a splash of water. Cook until the water evaporates and the bacon begins to brown. Continue stirring, lowering the heat a notch, until the bacon is crispy and brown. Remove bacon from pan and set on a paper-towel-lined plate. Drain most of the bacon fat from the saucepan (not into the sink!), leaving a couple of tablespoons (more or less) to sauté the vegetables.
2. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they soften and begin to caramelize. Pour in the tomatoes, rinsing out the can with a splash of water and adding that too.
3. Sprinkle in the herb of your choice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
4. Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain, keeping about a cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the sauce, reserved bacon, and some of the reserved pasta water, if necessary. Serve immediately. Pass grated Parmesan for those who want it.
Adapted from: The Best of Chef at Home, by Michael Smith (2009)