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Spicy Bacon and Tomato Pasta with Chilli

Bacon and tomato pasta, a glorious meal made with store cupboard ingredients, loosely based on Bucatini all Amatriciana it cooks in 20 mins.

Pasta in tomato sauce really is the ultimate Italian quick pasta dish as far as I am concerned and this one is both easy delicious.

Close up tomato and bacon pasta garnished with pecorino cheese served on a blue plate.

A Take on Bucatini All Amatriciana

Arguably the two most famous tomato pasta recipes are putanesca sauce and penne arrabbiata. You should never be constrained by this though, I have a tomato tuna pasta and an unusual dish called spaghetti all’assassina that are both sublime!

An Amatriciana sauce is another absolute classic that resmbeld what we know today as far back as the 1700’s.

This easy bacon and cherry tomato pasta recipe is a “localised” version of pasta Amatriciana.

Traditionally that dish would have used guanciale a rather lovely preserved pork jowl or cheek.

I use a local smoked preserved pork, I love the smokey flavour it imparts onto the tomato sauce. Whether it is my bacon and mushroom pasta recipe or my pasta e piselli recipe, I go local as often as I can.

I then use passata as it is a great store cupboard that I use to amplify the flavours of the fresh tomatoes.

Overhead tomato and bacon pasta garnished with parsley and pecorino cheese served on a blue plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What bacon should I use?

The chances are that wherever you live you will have some rather stunning preserved pork specific to your location. Find it, use it, cherish it!

It will be just as good as pancetta or guincale but it will be different, go experiment and keep some in your fridge.

It will last a long time and can be used in dishes as diverse as pasta carbonara to my smoked mackerel salad!

Can I use Parmesan cheese?

Of course!

Pecorino is a slightly sharper more acidic cheese which works well with the tomatoes. Parmesan is a little more fruity and peppery.

This difference is because parmesan is made with cows milk whereas pecorino is made with ewes milk.

but ain’t no one important gonna shout at you for getting the cheese “wrong”.

What pasta should I use?

I like bucatini for this recipe, but in all fairness, I like Bucatini for anything.

It has much more “presence” in a recipe, offers more “pasta” which I like, however, this dish works just as well with spaghetti.

It is also not unheard of to serve Amatriciana with rigatoni in Rome, and you know what they say “when in Rome…”.

Close up tomato and bacon pasta garnished with pecorino cheese served on a blue plate.

Serving Suggestions

This is a simple dish that stands on its own as a light meal as far as I am concerned.

But if I am feeling greedy I will add some garlic bread, or just some simple ciabatta bread. Be sure to head back and clean the pan too!

Many people are fond of a green salad served alongside pasta.

If you are one of those people then consider adding rocket (arugula) or watercress to the salad. The peppery nature of those leaves would be a perfect complement.

Tomato and bacon pasta garnished with parsley and pecorino cheese.

Equipment Used

I only mention brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan.
  • Stirring and serving spoons.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Grater.
  • Colander.
Overhead tomato and bacon pasta garnished with parsley and pecorino cheese on a blue plate.
Yield: 2 Servings

Bacon and Tomato Pasta Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Bacon and tomato pasta... A simple meal that many of us will have the ingredients for at home already, it cooks in 20 minutes and tastes fantastic.


  • 125g (4oz) Smoked Bacon
  • 75ml (1/3 cup) White Wine
  • 1 Red Chili Pepper
  • 125g Ripe Tomatoes (I use 3-4 mini plum Tomatoes)
  • 75ml (⅓ cup) Tomato Passata
  • 40g (~⅓ Cup) Pecorino Cheese
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 175g (~6 oz) Dried Pasta
  • Salt for Boiling the Pasta


  1. Cut the bacon into strips, 2-3mm (⅛") in profile and 2.5cm (1") long.
  2. Slice the chilli pepper as finely as you can, if you want to reduce the heat remove the seeds.
  3. Cut the tomatoes into 4-5mm (¼") thick slices.
  4. Heat a 20cm or 8" saucepan of well-salted water to a boil. I use 1½ teaspoons of salt in a pan this size.
  5. Boil your pasta for 1 minute less than it says in the packet, for bucatini this is typically 8 or 9 minutes.
  6. Heat a 30cm or 12" frying pan and over a medium-high heat, add the bacon strips and fry until they begin to crisp and give off its fat. This should take around 5-6 minutes.
  7. Add the chilli and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Pour in the white wine and reduce until reduced by half.
  9. Add the tomato passata and half of the Pecorino cheese and stir.
  10. By now you should be ready to drain the pasta, reserving a little (75ml or ⅓ cup) of the cooking liquid.
  11. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
  12. Add the sliced tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid, stir and cook for a final minute.
  13. Serve and garnish with the remaining cheese.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 476Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 1136mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 30g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Friday 22nd of December 2017

This looks so fancy but reading the ingredients I can't believe how simple it is!! DEFINITELY giving this recipe a go at my next dinner party! Thank you so much for sharing!

Brian Jones

Friday 29th of December 2017

Cheers Chris, definitely nothing fancy here just presentation making the ordinary look a little special.

Nicola @ Happy Healthy Motivated

Friday 22nd of December 2017

I've had this classic pasta dish in restaurants all the time, but I've never thought about making it myself. Love how you've left the tomatoes big and chunky. Yum!

Brian Jones

Friday 29th of December 2017

Thanks Nicola, it is such a good dish.


Friday 22nd of December 2017

With a large plate of bucatini all' Amatriciana you can keep going until Christmas. Such as satisfying meal. I like the addition of the fresh tomatoes, they bring any pasta plate to a higher level. Merry Christmas to you and your wife

Brian Jones

Friday 29th of December 2017

Cheers Laura, right back at ya.


Friday 22nd of December 2017

The flavours sound so delicious! I love all kinds of authentic Italian pastas!

Brian Jones

Friday 29th of December 2017

Pasta is such a fab meal foundation


Friday 22nd of December 2017

Yess this looks like the perfect "make during a super busy day before Christmas" dinner. I love it!

Brian Jones

Friday 29th of December 2017

Cheers Sue

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