Just Try to Resist "Fantasy Sauce Pasta"

If the grocery store isn't your favorite place, it should be. We're sleuthing for the best back-of-the-box recipes and every Sunday, Posie Harwood from 600 Acres will share our latest find. 

Today: Swoon over the sexiest Italian pasta ever (with wine and cream and bacon and butter).

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Those Italians. Just when you think you’ve tasted their heady, gourmet best—pillowy gnocchi dusted with Parmesan and nestled in sweet, roasted tomato sauce, or rich, wine-laced pasta bolognese shot through with tomato and striped with meltingly tender bits of pancetta—they go and throw something even better at you.

Of course, it should come as no surprise that the dish I fell for last week has a name like "Spaghetti with Fantasy Sauce." Who wouldn't want to taste that?

At first glance, it sounds alluring but too flashy, like some tanned, rakish, motorcycle-riding Italian named Giancarlo whom you know you should resist. It’s not sedate or sophisticated, but you give in, wanting a whirlwind romance, and you are rewarded.

It should be stated that, in addition to wine and sex and sports cars, Italians also excel in truly indulgent pasta. Here, you add wine and bacon and cream and butter to your sauce. It is worth it. You will go back for seconds.

The original recipe comes from the back of the De Cecco pasta box, and I’ve tightened it up to suit my tastes (leaving out a few ingredients and upping others). In searching for this recipe, I bookmarked at least three more dishes to share with you this summer. Each one is simple, flavorful, and perfect for warm-weather dinners. A glass of wine, an outdoor picnic table, a warm summer breeze, and you’ll be all set. 

Spaghetti with Fantasy Sauce

Adapted from De Cecco 

Serves 4

10 ounces dried thin spaghetti
3 ounces bacon (about 3 strips)
3 leeks
1/2 yellow onion
1 large handful baby spinach
2 tablespoons butter

Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup cream
3 ounces grated Parmesan (optional)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Do you have a favorite back of the box recipe, or have you heard about a great one? Leave any suggestions in the comments, and I'll try them out and share them here!

Photos by Posie Harwood 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Salvo Pluchino
    Salvo Pluchino
  • I_Fortuna
  • stephkrier
  • ZeTh Matalucci
    ZeTh Matalucci
  • Old man wilson
    Old man wilson
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


Salvo P. January 10, 2018
not Italian at all...anyway it looks good
I_Fortuna July 22, 2016
This is a great recipe! I would like to serve this with clams or mussels in the shell on pasta. Even a skinless fish fillet such as cod or perch would be terrific on a bed of spaghetti with this sauce.
I might try cooking the clams in this sauce. It would give it a nice seafood dimension. : )
stephkrier June 6, 2016
any chance I can swap the cream out for greek yogurt?!
I_Fortuna July 22, 2016
Not sure why you would want to do that. Full fat cream is completely different. Yogurt would change this sauce dramatically. You could also use fat free half and half if you are concerned about calories. I have even used unsweetened soy milk to make some sauces. That may work too. : )
ZeTh M. September 28, 2015
Delicious! I doubled it, added a little more spinach, and used penne instead.
Old M. September 24, 2015
Sounds great, forgot red cayenne. Chilies. I'm going to try it
Natalie T. June 28, 2015
I really love the creative way you wrote the story of this recipe!
ashleyamore June 23, 2015
Mi dispiace, ma una correzione... "bolognese", not "bologenese". Grazie!
Posie (. June 23, 2015
Correct -- molte grazie!