Simple Bacon & Garlic Pasta

Simple Bacon & Garlic Pasta

With just a few pantry staples, you can create a lovely garlic pasta meal that will keep you going. But, this is more than an easy weeknight meal. It can be a restaurant-quality dish that you can enjoy in your own dining room or kitchen.

The flavors in this dish are similar to a carbonara, but there’s no cream or egg yolk. The creaminess depends on how much cheese you add to the dish before serving. It’s simple, fresher and lighter than carbonara. But, it’s no slouch on flavor.

Recipe Notes

Everyone loves bacon. It’s full of flavor and there’s so much you can do with it. It’s also a good source of protein. But, bacon is really only the starting point.

The smoky flavor and rich fattiness is why most people crave bacon. But, you can get a similar profile from other cured or smoked meats. Try other cured pork products like prosciutto or speck in this dish. Even smoked fish and would be in this dish. Try it with smoked cod, salmon or oysters.

Smoked cheeses also offer a similar fatty and smoky flavor profile. Smoked gouda comes to mind. But, even nutty hard cheeses like manchego, pecorino, or parmesan would add depth to this dish. You can use smoked cheese that is softer too. Smoked mozzarella and grilled haloumi could give you a rich taste and a cheese pull that all cheese-lovers enjoy.

You don’t always have to eat your vegetables as a side dish. Why not throw them right into your pasta. You can add vegetables such as arugula, spinach, and kale to add more nutritional value to the dish.

You can also treat herbs the same way you do leafy greens in this garlic pasta dish. Add lots of fresh oregano, basil, thyme, or tarragon to this dish while it’s still hot. The herbs will wilt enough to soften and have the perfect toothsomeness.

Pickled veggies are great in pasta dishes too. Pickled capers, olives, chopped artichoke hearts, and asparagus can add a nice zing and crunch to the dish. This is another way to sneak more veggies in too.

How to Cook Pasta Perfectly

Perfectly cooked pasta means pasta cooked to your liking. So in my opinion, you should use the techniques that produce pasta you will want to eat. Still, I think these tips will everyone that opens a package of spaghetti.

  • Add salt to your water. No one likes bland pasta. So add at least a tablespoon to your pot.
  • Taste the pasta as you cook it. You’re testing for flavor and tenderness. Who knows how long that pasta was sitting before you bought it. It might take more or less time to cook than you expect. Testing your pasta along the way means you’ll catch it just at the point you want it.
  • Save some pasta water. You can add it to the cooked pasta dish if it gets too dry. It’s also got a lot of flavor.

Wine Pairing​ with Garlic Pasta

This garlic pasta recipe is perfect with rich white wine that complements the creaminess of the cheese.

Anytime there’s bacon in a dish, there’s an opportunity to serve red wines. The issue here is that probably only the lightest of red wines would work with this dish. So while red is an option, white gives you so many more opportunities.

My suggestion is to go for a creamier wine like a Chardonnay that has gone through malolactic fermentation, but that doesn’t have much oak aging. This dish has fatty bacon and creamy cheese, so a creamier wine would be nice with this.

On the other hand, you may want bright acidity to cut through the fattiness in this dish. In that case look for a cold-climate white wine with steel aging that is relatively young.

  • Chardonnay
  • Viognier
  • Marsanne
  • Roussane

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