This Easy Garlic Bacon Pasta Recipe is going to be your go-to weeknight meal when you need dinner on the table in just 10 minutes.
With just 5 ingredients, this dish comes together in the time it takes to cook your pasta! With the optional extras of parsley and parmesan for garnish.
The key to this delicious dish is the bacon! As it cooks it releases all its gorgeous bacony fats. These are packed with flavor and this oil is used to cook off the garlic – making a very simple yet scrumptious sauce for your cooked spaghetti.
A simple sauce for pasta
With just, bacon, olive oil and garlic, you can make an easy yet delicious sauce for your pasta!
Cook the bacon in olive oil until it’s crispy and has released all of the delicious fats. This bacony olive oil is then used to cook the garlic slivers in.
Once everything is cooked, some of the cooking liquid from the pasta is added and the spaghetti is tossed through.
How to use pasta cooking water to make a sauce.
The pasta cooking water is an amazing gift from the pasta gods! Regular readers are probably sick of me mentioning it!
When you cook pasta it leaches some of its starch into the cooking water. This means that cooking water has the ability to make your sauce a little thicker, a little glossier and a little lighter (because you need less oil to coat the pasta).
It does this by creating an emulsion between the oil and the water. And this mixture coats your pasta and sticks to your pasta. So you have a bowl of delicious pasta without a pool of sauce at the bottom.
Which bacon to use for garlic bacon pasta
You want to use bacon with a high-fat content, so avoid turkey bacon or the trimmed ‘bacon eyes’. The standard back bacon that you can buy at the grocery store is great for this.
Or pick something a little gourmet from the butchers, an applewood smoked bacon or brown sugar and chili bacon would add something amazing to this bacon pasta!
How to cook bacon for pasta
You want to cook the bacon until it is crispy, but you don’t want to burn it, so cook it over a medium-high heat. This allows the fats to render off and the bacon to crisp up nicely.
What goes with Garlic Bacon Pasta
Sides: Now I want to say garlic bread because I LOVE carbs and am not afraid to admit it. BUT the sensible thing to do here would be to pair this with a salad or a side of green vegetables. A simple arugula/rocket and parmesan salad would be my first choice, or maybe a side of garlic skillet green beans!
Wine: The garlic and bacon here mean that you want a wine that can handle flavor, but not compete. SO go for something light bodied like a Pinot Grigio or a Soave. For red lovers, the always popular Valpolicella, will blend nicely with the bacon and enhance the subtle smoky notes.
But my favorite choice here has to be a Lambrusco. The lightness of the bubbles and the touch of sweetness pair well with the oil sauce in the pasta and can withstand the garlic perfumed oil. (Don’t be put off by memories of university days with large bottles of fizzy sweet wine that pretended to be Lambrusco. Lambrusco is a delicious wine)
For more scrumptious pasta dishes try:
- Garlic Butter Pasta with Garlic Chicken
- Creamy Tomato Chicken Chorizo Pasta
- Creamy Lemon Salmon Pasta
- Shrimp Chorizo Pasta
- Pasta with Chicken Broth and Butter
- Easy Garlic Bacon Pasta
- Creamy Pepper Steak Pasta
- Black Truffle Pasta
- See ALL 60+ Pasta Recipes
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Easy Garlic Bacon Pasta Recipe
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 lb dried spaghetti
- 10-12 strips thick cut bacon – see note 1
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 large garlic cloves
- chopped fresh parsley – garnish
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese – garnish
Cook the Pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the salt and cook the pasta for 1 minute less than the packet suggests.
1 tbsp salt
1 lb dried spaghetti
- Once the pasta is cooked reserve 2 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta.
Whilst the Pasta is Cooking
- Chop the bacon into smallish dice, add a tablespoon of the olive oil to a frying pan then cook the bacon over medium high for 4-5 minutes until crispy.
8 strips bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
- Whilst the bacon is cooking peel and thinly slice the garlic.
6 cloves garlic
- Once the bacon is crisp, remove it from the pan using a slotted spoon, leaving the oil and bacon grease behind.
- Reduce the heat under the pan and add the remaining olive oil and the sliced garlic. Stir constantly for 2 minutes and as soon as the garlic has softened but not yet colored, add 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and turn the heat back up.
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup pasta cooking water
- Boil this mixture for a minute then add in the now drained pasta, keeping the frying pan on the heat.
- Add a further 1/2 cup of pasta water and toss and stir the pasta in the sauce until it is cooked to your liking. You might need to add more pasta water.
1/2-1 cup extra pasta cooking water
- Once your garlic 'sauce' has coated the pasta, add the cooked bacon and any collected juices back into the pasta then season to taste. (Depending on the saltiness of your bacon you might need salt, but it willdefinitly want some pepper)
- Serve garnished with fresh parsley and grated parmesan.
- You want to pick a bacon that has plenty of flavor and a good amount of fat. The fat is what makes the sauce, so don’t go for turkey bacon or bacon eyes. Good old fashioned streaky bacon is best here.