How to make it

  • Note: If you use whole canned tomatoes, avoid those packed in sauce or puree, which results in a dull, relatively flavorless sauce without the interplay of sweetness and acidity. If you choose Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes instead, use the can's entire contents, without discarding any liquid. The pasta and sauce quantities can be doubled, but you will have to simmer the sauce for an extra five or six minutes to thicken it. If you do not have a garlic press, mince the garlic very fine and sauté it for one minute rather than two. Note that the salt in this recipe is added in two batches; if you are using the sauce for something other than pasta, simply salt to taste rather than adding the second quantity of salt. Although 3/4 of a pound of pasta may seem an odd quantity, a full pound of pasta will dilute the sauce, resulting in a lack of flavor.
  • 1. If using diced tomatoes, go to step 2. If using whole tomatoes, drain and reserve liquid. Dice tomatoes either by hand or in workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade (three or four 1/2-second pulses). Tomatoes should be coarse, with 1/4-inch pieces visible. If necessary, add enough reserved liquid to tomatoes to total 2 cups.
  • 2. In 10-inch skillet, fry bacon over medium-high heat until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel–lined plate; pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pan.
  • 3. Process garlic through garlic press into small bowl; stir in 1 teaspoon water. Heat garlic and red pepper flakes in bacon fat over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley, crumbled reserved bacon, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 4. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente in large pot of boiling, salted water. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water; drain pasta, and transfer it back to cooking pot. Mix in reserved cooking water, sauce, and salt; cook together over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and serve immediately.

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