Pasta al Fumo

July 21, 2023
0 Ratings
Photo by Jon Brian Kinney
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

The name of this recipe means “smoky pasta” in Italian, and it hails from the Cortona region of Italy. A friend told me about this recipe years ago since his family is originally from Cortona, and one day I decided to try to make it, only to discover that there was not a lot of information about it online. Naturally, I decided to figure out my own version since the idea of a pasta sauce made from bacon, tomato, rosemary, and cream sounded too good to be true.

After a lot of fiddling, this recipe is what I came up with: a thick, rich sauce that clings to the noodles and capitalizes on the flavor in its name: smoke. The aromatic baseline for this hearty meal supports the more delicate flavors of rosemary and garlic which mingle in the background. Over the past year, and especially in lockdown, this has become my all time favorite pasta sauces.
Jon Brian Kinney

What You'll Need
  • 7 ounces good bacon or pancetta, chopped
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1-2 drops of liquid smoke
  • 1 ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano + more for serving
  • 1 pound dried pasta (I recommend spaghetti)
  1. Bring a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottom soup pot to medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until the fat has rendered out completely and the bacon has become crispy and golden. If the bacon is having trouble rendering, add a splash of olive oil to help it along. Remove the bacon bits with a spoon and set aside in a small bowl.
  2. Bring the pan to medium low heat. Add the tomato paste and sauté in the bacon fat until the tomato paste becomes just a shade darker (this part goes fast!), about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, pepper, and chopped rosemary and sauté until the garlic becomes translucent and fragrant, another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add cream and liquid smoke. Stir to combine, cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the sauce simmers and the cream bonds with the rest of the sauce, then remove from the heat. Add salt to taste.
  5. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente then strain, saving at least a cup of the pasta water. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce in the Dutch oven and stir until all noodles are coated and the sauce has a velvety texture. Add splashes of pasta water as you see fit, as well as the 1 ounce of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and toss until your desired sauce texture is achieved.
  6. Add the reserved crispy bacon bits and stir to combine, then serve with some more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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