Bacon and Onion Pasta
Building off of the simple but powerfully flavorful Italian dish pasta aglio, olio e peperoncino, this wondrous pantry recipe gets much of its flavor from bacon fat and caramelized onions. The one-two-three punch of spicy red-pepper flakes, aromatic garlic slivers and savory herbes de Provence bloomed in fat provides the umami-rich base for this easy workday meal. Red vermouth creates a rich, jammy pasta sauce edged with sweetness. Don’t sleep on angel hair pasta: It’s got the right airy bounciness that’s excellent at soaking up seasonings. Threaded with parsley and Parmesan, these generously oiled noodles are a dream to eat.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 8ounces bacon
- 2medium red onions
- ¼cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 8garlic cloves
- 1teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1teaspoon herbes de Provence
- 1cup sweet red vermouth (vermouth rouge)
- 1pound angel hair or capellini
- 1cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- ½cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Step 1Take the bacon out of its packaging with the slices still stuck together and place on a cutting board. Cut the bacon, still stacked, crosswise into ½-inch slices to create little bacon pieces, also known as lardons. Add to a large rimmed sheet pan. Halve and thinly slice the onions. Add to the sheet pan as well. Drizzle the olive oil over the bacon and onions, season with salt and pepper, and toss until evenly coated.
Step 2Place the sheet pan in a cold oven and then heat the oven to 450 degrees. Roast until the bacon has rendered much of its fat but is still pink and the onions are slightly charred in spots but not too dark, 20 to 25 minutes.
Step 3Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Smash the garlic cloves with the side of your knife and thinly slice them. When the bacon and onions have had their 20 to 25 minutes, remove the sheet pan from the oven and stir in the garlic, red-pepper flakes, herbes de Provence and vermouth. Place the pan back in the oven and continue cooking until the vermouth is almost evaporated, and the bacon and onions look jammy and caramelized but not burnt, 5 to 10 minutes.
Step 4Cook the pasta according to package instructions. (Don’t overcook it, as angel hair can go from bouncy to soggy in seconds). Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
Step 5Carefully transfer everything from the pan to the pot with the cooked pasta. Add the parsley and Parmesan to the pasta, and toss until evenly combined, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid if the sauce needs thinning out. Taste, adding more salt and pepper as needed, and serve immediately.