There is something comforting about spooning into one’s mouth, pasta clinging with an unctuous homemade tomato sauce. Add some smoked sausages and apple smoked bacon and I am transported back to a taste I remember from childhood. I like this dish as it is easy to get hold of the ingredients and even easier to cook. As long as you do not burn anything, it is foolproof deliciousness. As one of my diners remarked, “What’s there not to like? It’s so easy to eat,” and off he went to help himself to another portion.

Sausage And Bacon Pasta In Smoky Tomato Sauce

Prep: 20 minutes 
Cook: 40 minutes
Inactive:
Level: Easy
Serves: 6 – 8 
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes
Make ahead? Keeps well up to 2 days

Ingredients

5 cups (17.63oz)(500g) uncooked penne or pasta of your choice
11 rashers (12oz)(340g) thick cut smoked bacon cut into 1/2″ (1.25cm) slices
1 and 1/4 cups (5oz)(160g) onions diced
4 garlic cloves diced
5 and 1/2 cups (1 lb 13 oz)(822g) canned/bottled tomato puree/passata*
3/4 cup (200ml) water
1/2  teaspoon smoked sweet paprika**
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or any dried herb of your choice
6 sausages (14oz)(400g) smoked sausages cut into 1″ (2.5cm) chunks***
2 to 3 Tablespoons sugar*
2 to 3 teaspoons salt to taste
Cheddar and/or parmesan cheese to serve over pasta.
* Do not use tomato paste. You can buy canned whole/diced tomatoes and blend into a puree. Unless you can get really good quality fresh tomatoes, I would not bother blending those into a puree. Then again, I would rather save good tomatoes for use in a salad.
** If you cannot get smoked sausages or bacon, to get more of a smoky taste, increase the paprika to 1 teaspoon.
*** I like Johnsonville Smoked Brats.
* Amount of sugar depends on how tart the tomato puree is. Adjust accordingly.

Method

1. In a cold wide base pot, distribute the cut bacon. Over medium high heat, render fat from bacon or fry bacon until it browns and crisps up a little.  Do not over brown them. Always stir the pot and watch bacon carefully as there is a fine line between browning and burning. Remove and drain bacon. Set aside.
2. There should be at least 4 Tablespoons of bacon fat left in pan to fry the onions. If there is not, top up with oil.
3. Add onions into pot, fry them until it golden brown and then add garlic. Fry until fragrant.
4. Pour in the tomato puree and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer by turning heat down to medium low. Stir in smoked sweet paprika, pepper, dried herb and simmer 5 minutes.
5. Stir in sausages, cooked bacon and simmer 5 minutes.
6. Start by add 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 Tablespoons of sugar and simmer 5 minutes.
7. After 5 minutes of simmering, taste and adjust amount of salt and sugar.  It should be just a little saltier and sweeter (the idea here is to reduce the tartness of the tomatoes) than you want it. Once you add the pasta, it would taste perfect.
8. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust your final seasoning.
9. Cover and turn off heat.
10. Cook pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook. You want them al dente, as in with a bite to it. Drain cooked pasta. I always reserve a cup of pasta water should I need it to thin down this sauce or create more of a sauce.
11. Add pasta to sauce. Stir and taste. Adjust seasonings.
12. By now, you should have enticed enough hungry people with the smell of savoury smoked bacon and sausages into the kitchen. Serve immediately with bowls of cheese for them to help themselves. I like mine just as it is. Yum, yum.

Tips

Fry extra bacon
Keep some of the fried bacon aside for sprinkling over the completed dish or just fry up some extra bacon if you like bacon as much as I do.

This is party food for many!
From toddling toddlers to granddads and grandmas. They all enjoy them. Sauce can be made ahead. Leaving you to make a quick salad and boil the pasta 15 minutes before you are ready to serve. You would probably have no leftovers as everyone wants to take the leftovers home!

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

After second helpings of this sausage and bacon pasta, you might find your diners, plonking themselves like sacks on your sofas. “No dessert please,” they might plead. You bring out these light and clean tasting Coffee Poached Pears glistening on your dessert plates and chances are you would hear them say “Oh, maybe just a little.” Look out for the recipe!

To my American readers, Happy 4th of July! Stay safe and have a gre at long weekend! I hope you try cooking some of the recipes I have posted.

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