As winter spreads its chilly cloak across the land and the final sunset of autumn casts a golden glow over the campsite, the thoughts of the Guyrope Gourmet turn to warmer clothes and warming dishes. This recipe for smokey fireside pasta was first described to me by fellow camper and dear friend Rob, who lives on a boat, and knows a thing or two about cooking on a two-ring gas burner.
I love his description of high quality smoked bacon, which truly demonstrates an appreciation of good food;
“Really good smoked bacon should have yellow fat approaching the colour of straw, the meat should be more purple than pink, it should be dry to the touch and it should make your car smell like a garden in November. Someone’s burning autumn leaves.”
This dish has become a firm favourite at home as well as in the tent.
A great time saving device for preparing a fresh tomato sauce is to halve the tomatoes and rough-grate them, cut side on to the grater, leaving only the skin behind. Gone are the days of steeping them in boiling water as far as I’m concerned.
Ingredients to feed four people
12 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
8 tomatoes (the size and colour of red snooker balls)
A sprig of fresh thyme
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1 teaspoon of paprika
½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
A glug of olive oil
A lump of grated smoked cheddar
Dried pasta of your choice
Lay out the bacon in a large frying pan, with just a splash of olive oil. Cook on a low heat until crispy and the fat is the colour of amber. Remove the rashers from the pan and allow them to cool down. Into the frying pan add the chopped garlic and cook gently for two or three minutes. As soon as the garlic begins to colour, add the thyme, the paprika and grate in the halved tomatoes. Stir it through to make a rich vermilion sauce. Bring a large pan of salted water to boil for the pasta. Keep simmering the sauce gently for the time it takes to cook the pasta.
When the pasta is nearly ready, snap the cooked bacon into small pieces and add to the tomato sauce and stir it until heated through. Drain the pasta and plate up, cover with the sauce and a generous garnish of the smoked cheddar. Don’t eat this dish wearing a white shirt!
A robust red wine will be good with this, but for a real treat enjoy a smokey, peaty single malt from Islay as a digestif.
Josh Sutton’s website is at www.guyropegourmet.com
Follow Josh Sutton on Twitter: @Guyropegourmet