pasta with tomatoes, spring onions, and bacon

by Patricia on April 29, 2010 · 6 comments


Let me start by saying I’ve eaten this pasta more than 4 times in the last week. On purpose and willingly. And since I teased y’all with this picture the other day when I asked what do you eat when you’re alone?, I thought sharing the recipe was the right thing to do.

I’ve been watching a lot of tv lately. So much that this post could probably be called “confessions of a tv addict”. I’ve become so engrossed in all of the shows I never thought I’d watch like American Idol (is it wrong for me to be happy that Siobhan was voted off? She was just too… something. I never quite agreed when the judges doted on her. But then what do I know. She’s obviously talented and braver than I ever would be… I can’t even sing in front of my friends so can’t imagine going on stage and/or television. But I digress).

I even sometimes watch daytime tv. Yep, that’s how bad it is. Not soaps, I’ve never been much of a soaps fan except for that one summer in high school when I got hooked on Guiding Light. Then school started and I couldn’t be bothered to set the VCR to record it so I got unhooked (VCR!). It’s probably good there was no such thing as DVR or Tivo back then.

This daytime tv browsing has led me to watching bits of the Martha Stewart Show, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah. I even watched The View one day. I felt a little nauseous after that. But really what I’m trying to tell you is that I watched Rachel Ray. It’s not that I have anything against her per se, but I could never watch her Food Network show because she was always so… perky. With all of the EVOO this and delish that. But somehow she seems a little toned down on her morning show. And I’ve found myself watching her cooking segment on multiple occasions. It was on one of those occasions that I saw her make a pasta very much like this one. And while I haven’t quite made it into fan territory, I am eternally grateful to Ms. Ray for this pasta.

With that, let’s get cooking. (I went a little photo happy. It’s like I was channeling the Pioneer Woman or something)…

1 serving of spaghetti

I’m making one serving of this pasta, but you can double, triple or whatever as needed. One serving of spaghetti is about 5/8 inch in diameter or a little smaller than a nickel. (Don’t look too closely at my nails, they are awful). When you cook the pasta, remember to salt the water. I forget who said this but “it should taste like the sea” (well, maybe not that salty, but you want to add a little for sure).


Mmm… bacon. I use 1 strip of bacon per serving because I like the flavor it adds but don’t want to go too fatty. But more bacon isn’t going to hurt the flavor. I use kitchen shears to cut it into strips usually directly into the hot skillet.

The bacon is totally optional though. If you want to go vegetarian, start with some good olive oil and add a little salt to the vegetables while they cook. (I skip the salt when using bacon since it is already a little salty).

spring onions

For 1 serving I use 1-2 spring onions depending on their size. I go kind of light on the onions, but Rachel Ray used a ton (enough that you saw more onions than tomatoes in the end). So play around to see what you like. You can also substitute with the white and light green parts of a leek or even some green onions in a pinch. I like to slice the white parts kind of thin and the green parts into longer pieces.

garlic with press

1-2 cloves of garlic depending on the size of the clove. I love my garlic press. If you don’t have one, you can also mince the garlic (start by giving it a good whack with the flat side of your knife to crush the clove. This will keep it from rolling around while you’re trying to mince it).

grape tomatoes

I’m using grape tomatoes here, but you can also use cherry tomatoes though they may need to cook a little longer since they are usually a little bigger than the grapes. I use 2 handfuls or about 1 cup (-ish), because I love tomatoes. You can go lighter on the tomatoes if you want. Give them a good rinse and set aside.

basil and parsley

Chop up a few basil leaves and some flat leaf parsley. If you want to get fancy, make a chiffonade of basil.

pecorino romano pecorino romano, grated

1-2 tablespoons of grated pecorino romano. You could use parmesan or asiago if that’s what you have, but the pecorino has slightly different flavor.

Factoid: pecorino romano is made from sheep’s milk while parmesan is made from cow’s milk.

pasta water

Before you drain the pasta, reserve a little bit of the pasta water. We’ll use it later in the sauce.

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon. Can you smell it?

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

When it is cooked through, set it aside on a paper towel to drain. If you have exceptionally fatty bacon or use multiple strips, you may want to drain off a little of the excess fat before cooking the vegetables.

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

Add the spring onions to the skillet and stir for about 1 minute.

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (30 seconds to a minute).

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

Toss your tomatoes into the pan.

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

And cover with a tight-fitting lid. My stove runs a little hot so I turn it down to medium-low at this point so the onions don’t burn while the tomatoes cook. Leave the lid on until the tomatoes pop (about 10 minutes). If you listen closely you’ll hear them (silly things like this amuse me), but sometimes I’m a little impatient and will help a few of them pop.

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

Give each tomato a poke with your spatula to make sure it has popped (it should easily crush under a little pressure).

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

Add back the bacon.

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

Toss in the pasta.

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

And a splash of pasta water to loosen things up.

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

Stir in the basil and parsley

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

And about 1 tablespoon of pecorino romano (cheese!).

pasta with bacon, tomato, and spring onions

Plate it up pretty and finish it off with another little sprinkle of pecorino romano and some fresh ground pepper.

Spaghetti with tomatoes, spring onions and bacon

inspired by Rachel Ray

This recipe serves 1 and has become one of my favorite solo meals. If you cook several servings of spaghetti, you can toss the extra with olive oil and save it in a zip top bag. This makes throwing this meal together even easier (and in that case you can just skip the pasta water).

It also works well in a larger batch for 4-6 people, just multiply the amounts (approximately) to adjust for more mouths.

1 serving

1 slice bacon (optional, but really adds a lovely bacony flavor. If not using bacon, 1 tablespoon of olive oil + salt to taste)
1 serving of spaghetti (about 5/8″ in diameter or a little smaller than a nickel)
1-2 spring onions (depends on size and taste), sliced
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/2-1 cup tomatoes, cherry or grape (honestly I measured it in my left hand and put 2 handfuls in… it’s approximate)
a splash of pasta water (about 1 tablespoon)
1-2 tablespoons pecorino romano, grated
fresh basil, chopped, torn or chiffonade
fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped or torn
black pepper to taste

  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Remove to a paper towel to drain. (pour off some fat from the pan if there is an excess).
  2. Saute the onions for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  3. Toss in the tomatoes and cover with a lid. Cook until the tomatoes pop, about 10 minutes. Press the tomatoes to make sure they are all popped.
  4. Stir in the bacon, herbs, and cheese. Toss in the pasta and a splash of pasta water.
  5. Serve with a little more cheese and black pepper.


1 nathaniel May 19, 2010 at 5:07 am

Thankyou for this, I have recently become single and have been having trouble with finding interesting things to cook, I bought a recipe book but every 1 serves 4-6 it seems no one think about the single person.

So I grabbed all the ingredients nad gave it a shot. I’m impressed! Fresh basil! Who knew it had such an incredible aroma?? I’ve barely used any herbs before and never fresh so that was a real treat for me, cooking the onion and garlic, Oh man! Again the aroma was incredible.

Thank you for the recipe making it has really opened my eyes.

1 question though I really like olives but as you have no doubt gathered I’m a real novice cook. I reckon this recipe would be idea for some black olives but I don’t know how to add them. Would they need to cook like the tomatoes?? Or should I add them later??

2 Patricia May 21, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Hi Nathaniel,

Isn’t fresh basil wonderful? It’s one of my favorites for sure. I think olives would be a great addition. I haven’t tried it myself, but I think you could add them at the same time as the tomatoes or at the end (after the tomatoes have all popped). If you add them earlier, the olives will be softer and more of the olive flavor will permeate through the rest of the sauce. If you add them later, they’ll stay firmer and won’t change the flavor as much.

Let me know how it comes out!

3 Veronica April 30, 2010 at 10:52 am

This sounds so, so good! I love all the pics.

4 Anna April 29, 2010 at 11:30 pm

So glad you posted the recipe; I was coveting it after your picture the other day. I will be making this ASAP!

5 Julia April 29, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Good thing you went picture crazy like PW, cuz I am drooling. That pecorino romano cheese from TJ’s, my fave. My husband calls it ‘the good cheese.’

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