In many Italian pasta dishes, you’ll find unsmoked cured pork, like pancetta or guanciale. These dishes, however, use American-style bacon in all of its smoky glory.


1. With capers and mint

Spaghetti with Bacon, Capers and Mint
Credit: © Katie Quinn Davies

Take a cue from the Amalfi Coast and brighten up a basic bacon pasta dish with briny capers, cherry tomatoes and herbs.

2. Cheesy and baked

Add bacon to a luscious riff on mac and cheese.

3. With bitter greens


Bacon’s smoky fat cuts the bitterness of greens, like escarole, broccoli rabe and endive.

4. Baked, with cauliflower

How do you make a creamy, cheesy bacon pasta dish (slightly) healthier? Reduce the amount of pasta you use by subbing in some cauliflower.

5. With brussels sprouts

Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
Credit: © Livia Corona

Bacon and brussels sprouts are a classic match. Why not toss with pasta?

6. With clams


Make a mash-up of chowder and linguine and clams by adding bacon to your alle vongole.

7. With shrimp

Love bacon-wrapped shrimp? Then toss the smoky meat in your shrimp pasta dish and a winey tomato sauce.

8. Amatriciana


Mario Batali’s version of this Italian-American classic, which is essentially a spicy, bacon-y tomato sauce, is as satisfying as ever.

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Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016) and the blog Eat Better, Drink Better. She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.