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Pasta and Pancetta in Smoky Tomato Sauce

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This pasta and pancetta in smoky tomato sauce is a classic dish with a delicious twist. Ready in just 30 minutes and packed with flavor. Your whole family will love this dish! 

This is my final day of guest posts and it’s brought to you by the lovely Rachel of Rachel Cooks.  She is super sweet and an amazing friend. If you follow us on Twitter you would know that we generally chat all day long. I was so happy that she wanted to guest post again on Nutmeg Nanny. She is a gem.

Hi, everyone! I’m so happy to be back guest posting for Brandy. Remember me? I brought you lamb shanks the first time I had the honor of guest posting here. A lot has changed on my blog since then (or at least it feels like it to me), so make sure to head on over to my site if you’re bored and have some coffee left to sip on. Today I have a delicious pasta and pancetta in smoky tomato sauce dish for you. Enjoy!

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know that my husband is not a vegetarian. Not. Even. Close.

So, I save my vegetarian meals for lunches or nights when he is away. However, sometimes I try to sneak in a slightly less meaty meal, like this one. Far from vegetarian, but far from a slab of beef on a plate. He does love pancetta, though. He calls it bacon, but whatever…it’s bacon with high heels and pearls on.

The original recipe called for 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika. Well, believe it or not, I’m a smoked paprika virgin. So I went light on it (1/2 teaspoon). That was enough for me, but feel free to bump it up depending on how smokey you want your sauce to be.  The original recipe also called for bacon, so feel free to substitute that if it is all you have or if you’re on more of a budget. Also, the recipe didn’t call for carrots or red peppers. You can leave them out if you’re not veggie-obsessed like I am.

Pasta and Pancetta in Smoky Tomato Sauce


  • 1/2 pound pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced small
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of whole peeled tomatoes, pureed
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, extra for garnishing

Source: Inspired from Everyday Food Magazine


In a medium saucepan or a large frying pan (I used a frying pan), cook pancetta over medium high until crispy. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel.

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
(Optional) Drain some of the fat from the pan, leaving ~1 Tbsp. Or if you're a fatty like me, leave it all in there.

Add onion, carrot, and red bell pepper, and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes.Then add pureed tomatoes and smoked paprika and bring to a boil. Simmer rapidly for about 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened.

Meanwhile, salt your pasta water and cook pasta according to the package. Reserve ~1/2 cup of the pasta water when it has finished cooking.

Drain pasta (don't forget to reserve some of the water). Return the pasta to the pot and add the tomato sauce, stirring to combine. Add reserved pasta water to bring it to your desired consistency (I added very little).

Add pancetta and chopped parsley and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with additional fresh parsley.

Verdict: This was great! I really liked the smokey (smoky? Ugh! I’ve been struggling with this for the entire post) flavor, cut by the fresh parsley and the crispy pancetta was just delicious. Isn’t it always?
Husband’s take: He really liked this too. However, my meat loving hubby did say, “Maybe less carrots and more bacon next time.”
Changes I would make: None. Well, maybe for hubby I’d add in some extra “bacon.”
Difficulty: Very easy!