Suvir Saran's Penne with Popped Tomatoes and Bacon

Suvir Saran's Penne with Popped Tomatoes and Bacon

The following recipe is from the February 29 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!

[Photograph: Ben Fink]

Think of this Penne with Popped Tomatoes and Bacon from Suvir Saran's Masala Farm as the rustic farmer cousin of bucatini all'amatriciana. It's got the tomatoes, onions, and bacon but is also loaded up with fresh herbs that pack a punch.

Instead of a smooth, long simmered tomato sauce, this one is made by cooking down cherry tomatoes until they literally pop, making for a hearty chunky sauce with all shapes and sizes of tomatoes and generous cubes of bacon.

Why you should make this: We're always looking for a tasty and quick weeknight pasta and this one with it's big tomato bacon flavors is aces.

Next time we might think about: Saran makes a winter version of this pasta, adding in crème frâiche and cream. If you're looking for something a little richer it's just the thing.

Reprinted with permission from Masala Farm by Suvir Saran. Copyright © 2012. Published by Chronicle Books. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
  • One 14.5-ounce box whole-grain/wholemeal, multigrain, or nutrient-enriched penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 pound slab bacon cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large red onion, quartered and sliced crosswise
  • 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved if large
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving


  1. 1.

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt and the pasta, and cook following the package instructions until the pasta is al dente. Drain through a colander and set aside.

  2. 2.

    While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and pepper in a large frying pan over medium heat until the pepper is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rosemary, thyme, and basil, and then add the bacon, cooking it until it starts to render some fat, about 1 minute. Stir in the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook until the onion wilts and the bacon takes on a bit of color around the edges, about 5 minutes.

  3. 3.

    Add the tomatoes, cover the pan, and cook until the tomatoes are starting to shrivel and shrink (but aren’t mushy), 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the pasta and divide among bowls. Serve with lots of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.