This is a down-home Italian dish, much like a carbonara. The opportunities to make it your own are limited only by imagination. It’s also fairly quick and probably uses ingredients you have on hand. Add a small salad and it’s a complete meal.

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cooking time: 20 minutes. Makes 4 servings. Ready in about 30-40 minutes.


  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon cut into a dice
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) stewed tomatoes (no or low salt preferred)
  • 1 pound long noodle pasta like linguini, fettucini or spaghetti (uncooked)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley (2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano, Asiago or Pecorino cheese


  1. Cook diced bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from the pan.
  2. Add onions, and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes; cook for 30 seconds. Add canned tomatoes, undrained; simmer 10 minutes, breaking up tomatoes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of 4 quarts boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.
  4. Stir basil into the sauce, and then toss with cooked pasta. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.