Pasta is super quick and makes the most amazing diet friendly meal. – 312 calories / Syn Free / 5 Smart Points.
It’s no secret that I love Italian food. The beauty in Italian cooking is the simplicity, the way only a few ingredients come together to create an amazingly tasty meal. The secret is in preparing each ingredient perfectly and balancing the flavours just right. And you can easily do this yourself at home. This particular combination came about when I was raiding my pantry for something to make. See what leftovers you have and think about which flavours would go well together. Then think about how you get the most out of each ingredient individually and how you can combine them into a single meal. With a little practice you can create a good meal out of almost anything.
Rosemary, garlic and onion are a classic base for pasta toppings. Add just a key couple of ingredients, in this case bacon, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and within minutes you have a killer pasta. Searing the cherry tomatoes completely transforms them. It allows their sweetness to overpower their freshness, giving a beautiful flavour. The skins burst and loosen, allowing them to fall apart in your mouth.
This recipe uses some UK names. Hover over the translation icon or use the Translations for Cooking Terms, Ingredients and Measures page for US equivalents.
|2 slices||Thick-cut back bacon|
|From the pantry|
|150 g||Dried fettuccine|
|Low cal. spray|
At little over 300 calories for a full meal you can’t go wrong with this. Pasta dishes like this are quick and provide an easy ways to stay Syn free on Slimming World, or keep your Smart Points down on weight Watchers.
Method – brief
- Cook the pasta in enough water to just cover the pasta. Set aside some of the starchy cooking water.
- Soften the shallot, garlic and rosemary in a sauté pan. Add the bacon and mushrooms and cook until done.
- Add about 50 ml of the pasta cooking water and let it reduce, then add the pasta and toss together.
- Get a frying pan or skillet really hot, add the tomatoes and cook, tossing continuously until the skins burst. Add to the pasta and serve immediately.
Method – detail
Preparing the ingredients
- Finely chop the shallot, garlic and rosemary
- Trim all visible fat off the bacon and slice it into 1-2 cm (1/2 – 1 inch) squares
- Slice the mushrooms
You’ll have three things on the go at once here. I’ve structured the recipe so that everything completes at once.
- Fill a large sauce pan or small pot with just enough water to cover the pasta. I find 1 litre of water per 2 servings of pasta is good. Salt the water and get it to a boil.
- Add the pasta and cook al dente. If the package doesn’t specify an al dente time, take 2 minutes off the cooking time specified.
Tip: Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a lot of water to cook pasta, just enough to cover it. Using less water makes it more starchy, which is good for thickening the sauce later.
- When the fettuccine is done, save about 50 ml (quarter cup) of the water and drain the pasta.
- Meanwhile, spray the sauté pan with cooking spray and set over a medium-low heat.
- Add the shallots, garlic and rosemary, reduce the heat so that the onions are sizzling very gently but not browning. Cook until the onions have softened, approx. 2-3 minutes.
- Add the bacon and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have reduced in size and given off most of their moisture, approx 5-8 minutes.
Tip: I like to speed this up by covering the pan with a lid for a few minutes to keep the heat in and cook the mushrooms quicker. Then I take the lid off and increase the heat a bit to evaporate the juices that have come out of the mushrooms. But doing this the usual way with the lid off is fine too.
- Meanwhile, spray the frying pan with cooking spray and get it really hot.
- Add the tomatoes and fry, tossing frequently, until the skins have burst.
- Set aside until the meal is ready to serve.
Bringing it all together
- When the ingredients in the sauté pan are done, add half of the reserved pasta water and let it reduce a bit.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the pasta. Toss the ingredients together. As it cools, the starch from the pasta water will help the ingredients bind together.
- Plate the pasta and scatter the cherry tomatoes on top.
- Serve immediately.