Kitchen & Pantry

Is olive oil essential to a good pasta dish?

Is olive oil essential to a good pasta dish? |

Last Friday, hours before Alex was due home for the weekend, I texted her to ask what she wanted for dinner and she said, “Pasta.” Knowing how much she loves pesto, I prepared a simple pasta dish with bacon and pesto. She loved it.

Having had her fill of pasta, I thought that she’s ask for something else before she went back to the condo in the city on Sunday. How wrong I was. She asked for pasta once more. The girl is a serious pasta lover, I tell you.

I wondered what kind of pasta dish I was going to prepare but she had already written the recipe inside her head. The sauce would be a combination of tomato sauce and pesto. Easy enough, I thought. Then, I discovered that we were out of olive oil. How in heaven’s name was I going to make tomato sauce? I weighed my options and decided that bacon fat and butter would have to do. The result was a resounding success.

Pasta with bacon, tomatoes and pesto sauce
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Servings: 4
Author: Connie Veneracion
  • 200 to 250 grams belly bacon cut into chunks
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • pepper
  • 2 generous pinches dried oregano
  • sugar to taste
  • 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons pesto
  • 3 to 4 tomatoes diced
  • cooked pasta for four
  1. Heat a frying pan. Add the bacon and cook in the fat that it renders until lightly browned.
  2. Scoop out the browned bacon and set aside.
  3. Add the butter to the pan.
  4. When the butter is melted, add the minced garlic, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes and oregano. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and a little bit of sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to liquefy.
  5. Add the pesto. Stir. Taste the sauce. Add more salt, pepper or sugar, as needed.
  6. Throw in the diced tomatoes. Continue cooking until the diced tomatoes are heated through.
  7. Toss in the cooked pasta and bacon. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed, before serving.

P. S. About the wildflowers… My older girl, Sam, has this habit of stepping out of the house, picking wildflowers by the front door and handing them to me. She’s been doing it since she was a little girl and she still does to this day. Wildflowers wilt within minutes so I thought I’d immortalize Sam’s sweet gesture by arranging them in a teacup and including them in the photo.

I adore my girls. I truly do.

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