Quick and easy cooking is my favourite type. If you work but need to feed a family in the short time you have inbetween school, activities, and work, then I’m always looking for fast dishes. This bacon, pepper and tomato pasta sauce recipe is really simple and can be prepped in advance. It’s also really versatile.
Working at home, I can usually prep at lunchtime then just heat it through later. But with this pasta sauce I quite often make it, then leave it covered and simmering in the bottom aga til we need it. Otherwise it can be reheated on the hob.
If you want to make a larger portion you can always freeze what you don’t use in useful portion sizes. It’s easily defrosted at room temperature or in the microwave, ready to use as needed.
For a fast dinner, we simply have this bacon and tomato pasta sauce with pasta (the clue’s in the name!). But it’s pretty versatile:
- Make a lasagne
- Cannelloni with chilled pasta rolled up around it
- Add tuna for a pasta bake
- Add it to chicken breasts as a sauce sprinkled with grated cheese
- Top with eggs and bake
You can also vary it depending what you have. Sometimes rather than adding chopped tomatoes, I’ll add a ready made sauce, or sometimes even adding some mascarpone, philadelphia or Boursin. While the base is bacon, tomato and pepper, I also add in whatever I have I can get away with (a little courgette works, or anything else you want to add).
We eat the sauce chunky, but if you’ve got fussy children you could blitz the veg with a hand blender after cooking. Just cook the bacon or pancetta separately, then add that to the smoother sauce afterwards
Quantities are best played by ear. There’s 3 of us, so I just up or lower the amount of veg or bacon depending on how many are being fed. The freezer means it doesn’t matter if there’s leftovers.
Bacon, pepper and tomato pasta sauce recipe
- 8-10 rashers of streaky bacon, cut up into pieces; or
- 100g ish of smoked pancetta – I buy the double packs in supermarkets, and would usually use one of the 2 bits.
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
- 2-3 shallots, peeled and diced (or half a red onion, diced)
- Pack of tomatoes, cherry or standard size – chopped into pieces. Opt for on the vine if possible for sweeter flavour. If you’ve not got fresh tomatoes, tinned chopped tomatoes are fine.
- Garlic clove, peeled and crushed, optional
- Pinch of sugar
- Salt, pepper
- Oregano or basil – I use dried, but use what you have
1. In a little oil, fry the bacon or pancetta until browning, stirring regularly. I use a saucepan because it’s easier to just use one pan. But if you’re cooking for more people, a frying pan with a lid might be better to use.
2. Add the onion (and garlic if using) for a couple of minutes, then add the pepper.
3. Add the tomatoes and stir the sauce around for a bit. Add a pinch of sugar if your tomatoes aren’t that sweet or ripe.
4. Cover and cook on a low heat for as long as possible. I put ours in the bottom of the aga on low heat for an hour or so, but as long as it’s covered and on a low heat simmering, it shouldn’t burn or run dry.
5. Season with some basil or oregano.
6. Serve with pasta, topped with grated cheese.
It should cook down nicely. If it’s a bit thick, add some more tomatoes, or a little vegetable stock. Or do as I do, I generally have a basil and tomato pasta sauce tub always in the fridge, and just add some of that to provide a little more depth of flavour.
What is the favourite pasta sauce recipe in your house?