I love pasta. Pasta dinners have been a staple in my house most of my life. Lately, I’ve found myself in a pasta rut. I always find myself making one of two tomato based pasta sauces. I love both sauces, but sometimes I want to change things up.
I wanted to find a way to include more vegetables in my pasta dishes. But I didn’t want to abandon tomatoes altogether, as I regularly have access to fresh, vine-ripened, locally grown tomatoes. The solution was simple, really. Creamy tomato sauce.
Creamy tomato sauce is actually quite easy to make. You start by building a regular tomato sauce, and then add cream and Parmesan cheese at the end. These two ingredients totally transform a simple tomato sauce into something smooth and creamy, but not too rich.
Kale is still abundant at the grocery stores and at the farmer’s markets which have just opened up again for the new season. It seemed like the obvious vegetable to use. And if I was going to use kale, then of course I needed to also include kale’s favorite buddy, bacon. Bacon and kale are fantastic partners. They should be used together as often as possible.
I used half and half cream, which is 10% cream. You can use a heavier cream if that’s what you have. It will make your sauce a bit richer than mine.
The brown sugar mellows out the acidity of the tomatoes. It gives the sauce a smoother finish. If you like the acidic bite of tomatoes, or are trying to avoid added sugar, you can omit it.
This fettuccine in creamy tomato sauce was a big hit at my house. Plus, it’s easy to make. Creamy tomato sauce has been added to my pasta rotation and will grace our dinner table often.
Recipe: Fettuccine in Creamy Tomato Sauce with Kale and Bacon
Recipe adapted from Julia’s Album
Makes 4 servings
- 10oz (280g) fettuccine noodles
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 medium onion, small dice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 medium size fresh red tomatoes, small dice
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 bunch kale (about 10oz or 280g), washed, stems removed and sliced into thin ribbons
- 1 cup (250 mL) half and half (10% cream)
- ½ cup (125 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
- In large pot, bring water to a boil and cook fettuccine according to package directions.
- In large pan, on medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook bacon in two batches. Keep bacon drippings in pan, but transfer cooked bacon to a plate, break into large pieces and reserve for later.
- In pan with bacon drippings, on medium heat, add onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until onion start to soften. Add garlic to pan and cook one minute more, until garlic fragrant.
- Add chopped tomatoes to pan. The liquid from the tomatoes will deglaze the pan. Scrape up the browned bits into the tomato mixture as they will add flavour to the sauce. Add salt, Italian seasoning, paprika and brown sugar. Stir well.
- Add kale to pan. Stir until kale wilts, about 3 to 5 minutes. Cover pan and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes and kale cooked.
- Add half and half cream to pan and bring to a boil. Add Parmesan cheese. Reduce to a simmer and stir, about 1 to 2 minutes, until cheese melted. Remove from heat. Add ¾ of bacon pieces to sauce.
- Add cooked fettuccine noodles to sauce and toss until well coated.
- Serve pasta on individual plates, and garnish with reserved bacon and extra Parmesan cheese if desired.