Bow-Tie Pasta with Crispy Bacon and Peppery Asiago Sauce

by Susan Hanna

This luscious pasta from Food and Drink is comfort food at its best. Cooked pasta is mixed with crisp bacon, pepper, butter, shallots, white wine, cream and asiago cheese. Garnish with more bacon, cheese and pepper and enjoy!

Serves 6.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for bacon preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites, butter that contains only cream and Asiago without any colour or preservatives added. I used a white wine from Frogpond Farm with a sulfite level below 10 parts per million. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups (2 L) bow-tie pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) whole white or black peppercorns
  • 2 cups (500 ml) diced bacon, about 17 to 17 ½ oz (485 to 500 g)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) 35% (whipping) cream
  • 2 cups (500 ml) grated Asiago, plus more for garnishing if desired

Preparation:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions in well-salted water. Just before draining pasta, collect and reserve about ¼ to ½ cup (60 to 125 ml) of the salty, starchy pasta water.
  2. Add drained pasta to a large bowl, drizzle with about 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil, and toss to coat. Cover and set aside at room temperature. The oil will prevent the pieces of pasta from sticking together.
  3. Add the whole peppercorns to a heavy-duty freezer bag and smash with a wooden mallet or rolling pin, to just coarsely crack; set aside.
  4. Into a very large skillet over medium heat, add the diced pancetta; stir occasionally and fry until the pancetta is beginning to crisp up and render its fat—about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift out about one-third of the fried pancetta and set aside on paper towel to drain; you’ll use this as a finishing garnish.
  5. Drain and save excess fat from the skillet, leaving about 1 tbsp (15 ml). Save the pancetta fat for roasting potatoes or frying eggs.
  6. Add the cracked peppercorns, butter and shallot to the skillet; stir and fry until the shallot becomes translucent, about another 5 minutes.
  7. Add the white wine; stir and scrape up the cooked-on tasty pancetta bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  8. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the cream, cooked pasta and reserved pasta water a bit at a time, stirring until pasta is creamy and coated.
  9. Remove from heat, add the grated cheese, stir to combine, taste and adjust for saltiness. Serve at once garnished with a few crispy bits of pancetta and more cheese on top. Serious pepper fans can bring the grinder to the table. 

From Food and Drink