Tasty Tedium {fresh tomato pasta}

I’m probably about 3 months early in sharing this recipe with you, considering that it’s not quite tomato season in our backyards, but there have been some good-looking Roma’s at the market lately and I couldn’t resist. Fresh tomato pasta (with bacon) has been one of my go-to dinners for a long time, and if you take out the bacon parenthetical, can be a fantastic vegetarian pasta meal when you have an abundance of ‘maters out back.

This recipe is steeped in tedium but I happen to be one of those people who finds the monotony of chopping to be almost yoga-like in its effect on me. I don’t just dice, I practice. (I’m guessing here; I’m way too antsy to actually do yoga). You may not be that way, and that’s fine. In fact, it’s probably a good thing, but if you don’t mind honing your knife skills, then this recipe will provide you with an opportunity to improve your slicery and will even teach you an easy way to peel a tomato, courtesy of Carol Garvin, patron saint of my kitchen.

To serve 4-6 people, you’ll need the following:

  • 4 lbs. tomatoes (romas or another largeish variety)
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, diced tiny
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • skinny pasta of some sort (vermicelli or angel hair)

We’ll start off with the tomatoes. Throw on some Enya and begin calmly breathing and posing and flaring your nostrils (is this what yoga is like?). Grab a paring knife and make a little “x” on the bottom of each tomato.

We’re basically going to blanch the tomatoes briefly which will loosen up the skin and allow us to peel it right off. Set up a pot of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once you get there, drop a couple tomatoes in the water for about 30-45 seconds. Pull them out and run them under cold water so you can handle them. The skin will begin to peel away from the treasure map x-marks-the-spot spot and you can finish the job with your hands.

It’s a fairly satisfying exercise if you ask me, but you can absolutely skip this part if you want. The peels won’t hurt the sauce, but I find that I get annoyed because generally the skin of the tomatoes ends up coming off the tomatoes anyway and your sauce will have bits of chewy skin throughout. It’s up to you. Choose your own adventure, my friends. Once the tomatoes have all been peeled, give them a chop and set aside.

Now for the rest. Heat a large skillet (with a lid) over medium heat and brown your bacon.

Whilst that’s going down, go ahead and chop your two onions into a pretty small dice. Once your bacon has browned and crisped up, pull it out of the pan and drain off the excess bacon fat. Don’t wipe the pan though, bacon fond is super important. Add a bit of olive oil back to the pan and return to the stove over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and saute for 15 minutes or so until they begin to get a bit of golden color to them and become soft and translucent. Then add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute for another minute.

Yum. Now add in all of your tomatoes and a healthy dash of kosher salt – likely about 1/2 teaspoon to start with the expectation that you may need more at the end.

Cover the pan and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down. They’ll release a lot of water and you’ll want things to thicken up. To do that, remove the lid and let simmer for another 20 minutes or so until the sauce reaches the consistency you like.

This is the consistency I like. To finish up, cook your pasta until it’s a touch underdone. Drain, add to the tomato sauce and cover and let combine for about 5 minutes.

Remember that bacon?

Bacon as a pasta topping is genius and I invented it. Namaste, bitches.

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