The browned onions lend a slight sweetness to this dish. If you prefer not to have that caramelized flavor, just soften the onions for five minutes without browning them, or try the variation below using leeks.
Plus: More Pasta Recipes and Tips
1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
2 onions, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound linguine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
How to Make It
In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Put the pan over moderate heat. Add the onions, the thyme, the red-pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine until just done, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the linguine and toss with the bacon, onions, 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, the Parmesan, parsley, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. If the sauce seems too thick, add more of the pasta water. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.
Variation: Linguine with Leeks, Pancetta, and Parmesan Substitute 1/2 pound of pancetta for the bacon, and 1 1/2 cups of sliced leeks, white and light-green parts only (from about 3 medium leeks), for the onion.
Though the dish is Italian, the ingredients make one think of an Alsatian quiche. A Riesling from this French region will work beautifully with this pasta.
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