Sautéed Pasta with Bacon, Tomato and Zucchini

My initiation into the wonderful world of pasta was through the good old spaghetti Bolognese. After long periods of eating a variety of tomato-sauce pastas, I got into creamy pastas for a while. The low-fat craze steered me away from creamy pastas swiftly. Nowadays, sautéed pasta is my favourite.

In principle, sautéed pasta is very similar to Chinese/Asian stir fried noodles. I call this dish ‘Chinese/Italian Pasta’ (only) because I like to eat it with chopsticks. Delicious and quick to prepare, it is one of our favourite regular midweek meals.

This version of sautéed pasta is not only lighter but also less taxing on my slow metabolism and digestion system than creamy pastas. It is less acidic and splash-happy than tomato-sauce pastas.

A good quality olive oil is essential for my sautéed pasta. Olive oil has a distinctive flavour that makes this sautéed pasta so delicious. Heating up the garlic and olive oil slowly together helps to infuse the olive oil and hence the pasta with garlic. This dish can be quite healthy as you can add quite a lot of vegetables. The bacon is my guilty pleasure. To lessen my guilt, I always trim it as much as I can and discard the fatty bits. The bacon can be replaced with lean ham, cold-cut chicken or turkey.


Sautéed Pasta with Seasonal Vegetables
Serves 4

300 g/10.5 oz pasta (my favourites to use with this recipe are spaghetti, linguini or fettucine)
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
175 g/6 oz bacon, discard visible fats, chopped
150 g/5 oz button mushroom, sliced
500 g/18 oz 4-5 zucchinis, sliced
Iodised salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
2 medium tomatoes, cut into eighths

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta. Cook it for 2-3 minutes less than the recommended cooking time (on the packet). Drain and reserve some of the pasta cooking water.

Place olive oil and garlic on a large, deep pan (I use my casserole pan for this) and heat them over medium-high heat until fragrant.

Add the bacon and sautee for about 5 minutes or until cooked. Add the mushroom and stir for another 10 minutes or so. Add the zucchini. Cook for about 2-3 minutes (don’t overcook). Season with salt (remember that the bacon can be quite salty) and black pepper. Stir in the drained pasta and some of the cooking water. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir for another 1-2 minutes. Serve warm with grated/shaved parmesan cheese.

© 2012 Lusiana Njo


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