Bacon/ Cream/ Hearty Dinners/ Pasta

Penne Alfredo with Bacon and Sun Dried Tomato

February 7, 2019 (Last Updated: May 31, 2020) by Chris Collins

A delicious twist on the classic Alfredo. Penne Alfredo with Bacon and Sun Dried Tomato will change your ‘go to’ quick dinner forever!

Sometimes your belly just calls for the simple things in life. The simply gorgeously, creamy and flavoursome things that is. Penne Alfredo is one of those dishes that you won’t see being made the same way twice; an ambassador of variation if you will. For me? I like a Penne with some very ‘non classic’ additions. Italians, forgive me.

overhead shot of pasta in skillet surround by forks, garlic, parmesan and basil
Penne Alfredo

A traditional Alfredo sauce actually doesn’t involve cream. In fact its creamy texture comes from an emulsion of butter, cheese and pasta water. A classic Alfredo also uses Fettuccine. My Alfredo? Well, it certainly may not be traditional, but it’s ridiculously tasty nevertheless.

The stars of the show here are bacon, sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Yes, an unfamiliar combo not have in a creamy pasta recipe, but it totally works.

Alongside all the above, we are of course going in with some cream. I can hear the sound of Italian tears hitting the floor, but, I’ve already put the ‘non-traditional’ disclaimer out so we can throw in anything we want, can’t we? That’s how it works isn’t it?! 😂 Anywho, follow me.

closeup shot of wooden spoon diving into skillet of creamy pasta

Making Creamy Penne Alfredo

Making this dish truly couldn’t be easier. People are always so surprised when I show them the recipe for this because it really does taste like so much more effort has gone into it than actually has. This recipe is SO simple and requires such little ingredients; which is quite hard to believe after how beautiful it tastes. So smooth and silky, yet tangy and bursting with flavour.

Starchy Pasta Water

One of the key ingredients in a creamy pasta recipe is the water you cook the pasta in. Admittedly there is a good amount of fat in this recipe, and as such, it runs the possibility of the sauce turning greasy/oily. We don’t want to get rid of the fat, because the fat brings with it a huge amount of flavour.

By stirring through some starchy pasta water, you help emulsify the fats, to help turn the sauce extra creamy, as opposed to oily.

How to make Creamy Penne Alfredo (quick summary)

  1. Fry bacon in a little oil until nice and crispy. Drain fat if there’s too much.
  2. Add garlic and sun dried tomatoes and fry for a further minute or so.
  3. Add butter.
  4. Pour in cream, allow to simmer, then add basil, parmesan and seasoning.
  5. Add in cooked penne.
  6. Stir through and thin out with pasta water if needed.

How to make Penne Alfredo with Bacon and Sun Dried Tomato - step by step photos

Tips for the perfect Penne Alfredo

1. Salt

Go easy on the salt and make sure you use unsalted butter. Bacon and parmesan are both fairly salty so just ensure you don’t go overboard with the seasoning. A good amount of black pepper however is encouraged.

2. Pasta Water

As discussed, creamy pasta dishes often thicken and go gloopy quite quickly, so use your pasta water to thin out when necessary.

3. Al Dente Pasta

There’s nothing worse than overly soft pasta, so make sure you boil it until it’s only just cooked. It will finish cooking in the pan.

closeup overhead shot of pasta in skillet

To serve, I usually sprinkle with extra parmesan and fresh basil, but this is totally optional!

And there we have it. All my top tips have officially leaked from my brain.

Hey, whilst you’re here why not check out my other recipes?

Creamy Pasta Recipes

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this penne Alfredo with bacon & sun dried tomato shall we?!

closeup shot of wooden spoon digging into pasta in skillet

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How to make Penne Alfredo with Bacon and Sun Dried Tomato (Full Recipe & Video)

Penne Alfredo with Bacon and Sundried Tomato- serving bowl

Penne Alfredo with Bacon and Sun Dried Tomato

A delicious twist on the classic Alfredo. Penne Alfredo with Bacon and Sun Dried Tomato will change your 'go to' quick dinner forever!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 4
Calories: 615kcal
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50

Equipment:

  • Large Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Large Pot & Colander
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Fine Cheese Grater

Ingredients (check list):

  • 10.5oz / 300g Penne Pasta
  • 1 1/4 cups / 300ml Heavy/Double Cream, at room temp
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 5oz / 150g Streaky Bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup / 40g freshly grated Parmesan (plus extra to serve)
  • 3/4 cup / 75g Sun Dried Tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 handful of Fresh Basil, chopped (save some to sprinkle on top)
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  • Fry your bacon over medium heat until it begins to crisp. Drain excess fat/oil if there's too much, then add your garlic & sun dried tomatoes and fry for a minute or so longer. Add your Butter and stir until melted.
  • At this point pop your pasta in a pot of salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Retain a cup of starchy pasta water just before draining.
  • Stir in your cream and allow to simmer on a low/medium heat. When it just starts to thicken add in your parmesan, basil and seasoning to taste.
  • Once the sauce has fully thickened add your pasta and toss until coated. Simmer for a few minutes to soak up the sauce, stirring throughout and using your starchy pasta water to thin out if it becomes too thick and gloopy. On the contrary, if the sauce is still too thin just continue to simmer until it wraps itself around the pasta.
  • Serve with and extra sprinkle of parmesan and basil!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Salt - Whilst Black Pepper is encouraged, be careful with the Salt seasoning. Bacon, Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan are all fairly salty ingredients. Taste test throughout to ensure the dish doesn't end up too salty. Still make sure you season the pasta water though!
b) Pasta Water - This dish thickens quite quickly and can become gloopy in a short space of time; adding a few splashes of water will help thin the sauce out again. With the same token however do not feel like you have to add any extra fluid, this is merely preference and in the instructions to collect a cup of water just in case. In all cases make sure the pasta water is seasoned and scooped out just before draining so it's nice and starchy.
c) Leftovers - I have actually had readers tell me that they have reheated this recipe and tastes glorious. However in my experience, with the recipe and most creamy pasta dishes, when it's reheated it ends up very oily. Same great flavours, just none of the original creamy texture. I'll leave leftovers (if there is any) to your best judgement!
d) Readers notes - Although I have never tried myself, it sounds that grilled chicken and spinach are great additions to this recipe!
e) Calories - whole recipe divided by 4 with no extra parmesan to serve.

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Penne Alfredo with Bacon and Sun Dried Tomato
Amount Per Serving
Calories 615 Calories from Fat 444
% Daily Value*
Fat 49.35g76%
Saturated Fat 21.441g107%
Trans Fat 0.233g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.786g
Monounsaturated Fat 10.021g
Cholesterol 150mg50%
Sodium 398mg17%
Potassium 680mg19%
Carbohydrates 30.09g10%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 6.35g7%
Protein 15.66g31%
Vitamin A 3700IU74%
Vitamin C 6.6mg8%
Calcium 160mg16%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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