My sons love this meal, it’s one that gets requested over and over again. It tastes great and even better, it’s incredibly quick and simple to make
As I write this post, I’m sitting in a tennis centre listening to the rain hammer down on the roof. It’s cold and miserable outside, the skies are going darker and to be honest, I would love to be back home under a cosy blanket with a mug of coffee. This is the sort of weather which makes me want comfort food, and my Quick Cheese and Bacon Pasta ticks all the boxes for me.
The combination of creamy, cheesy sauce, salty bacon and sweet onion and corn is what makes it a winner for my sons. I love the fact that if I start chopping the onion while the water for the pasta is heating up. the sauce is ready at the same time as the pasta is cooked.
And I’ve usually got all of the ingredients for it in the house, in some form or other. Below you’ll find my super-quick version, which uses cubes of pancetta, pre-grated Gruyere and a tin of sweetcorn. But you could chop up some rashers of bacon if you have those in the fridge, replace the Gruyere with sharp Cheddar cheese, and throw some frozen peas in with the pasta instead of using the sweetcorn.
Likewise, I’ve used Amori pasta because the boys love the curly shape, but you can use any pasta shapes you have handy. It goes really well with spaghetti or linguini, but just remember that these tend to take less cooking time so get the sauce on the go before you start cooking the pasta.
Quick Cheese and Bacon Pasta (Serves 4)
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
360g Pasta shapes
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 medium onion
150g pancetta cubes
400ml half-fat creme fraiche
100g grated Gruyere cheese
1 small tin sweetcorn, drained
Salt and black pepper
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add salt and throw in the pasta to cook.
While the water is boiling, chop the onion finely – you want pieces around the same size as the pancetta cubes and sweetcorn. Pour the oil into a large frying pan and add the onion to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until it is starting to soften, then add the pancetta and turn the heat up to medium-high.
Continue to cook the pancetta and onion, stirring regularly, until the pancetta is just starting to crisp – you don’t want it all crispy, but a little around the edges. This will take another 3-4 minutes.
Remember to keep an eye on your pasta!
Add the creme fraiche, stir it into the onion and bacon and then let it bubble gently for 2-3 minutes so that it forms a creamy sauce.
Next, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated cheese, sweetcorn and a good grind of black pepper. You shouldn’t need to add salt to the sauce, because the bacon and cheese are both salty.
Return the pan to the hob, and continue to stir so that the cheese melts into the sauce. When it has all melted, you can remove the pan from the heat.
Your pasta should be ready around now, so reserve a cupful of the pasta water, and then drain the rest.
Stir the pasta and sauce together, adding a little of the pasta water if you think it needs a little more liquid, and serve.
So tell me, what is your favourite comfort food? Or what do you like to eat on a cold November evening?