clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
pasta shells tossed in a bacon and tomato sauce and sprinkled with cheese on a plate

Bacon and Tomato Pasta Shells

  • Author: Spicepaw
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-3 1x


Shell pasta tossed in a light tomato and bacon sauce made with fresh thyme and butter.  A delicious and easy pasta recipe to indulge in. #budgetfriendly #quickdinners #healthyrecipes #pasta #bacon



3 Slices (120 g / ~ 4 oz) of thick-cut smoked streaky bacon (you can also use pancetta or any other smoked pork belly)

9 Garlic cloves (smashed)

9 Sprigs of thyme

3 tbsp butter

6 medium Red tomatoes

250 g (~9 oz) Shell pasta (conchiglie)


In a medium to a large saucepan, melt 3 tbsp of butter over medium heat.

Remove fibrous stems and shells from garlic cloves.  Using the side of a knife, smash the cloves.

Cut bacon into pieces no larger than 1 cm (0.5 inch) large.  Add bacon pieces the melted butter in the pan along with thyme sprigs and smashed garlic cloves.

Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and cook on medium heat until bacon is crispy and garlic is golden (about 10 minutes). Be careful not to burn the garlic otherwise, it will taste bitter.

Meanwhile, wash tomatoes, remove the core at the top and diced into pieces no bigger than 1 cm (0.5 inch).

When bacon is crisp and garlic is golden, stir in diced tomatoes.  Increase heat to high and let bubble away for a minute or so then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer.

Let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. Make sure to give it a stir every once in a while to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.

While sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to directions on the package and drain. Remember to salt your pasta!  My recommendation is 1 tbsp of sea salt to every 2 liters of water.  It should taste like salty soup.  Always taste the water before adding uncooked pasta.

After the sauce has simmered and tomatoes have lost all shape, carefully remove thyme sprigs and season with sea salt to taste.  Make sure you take into account the seasoning of the pasta when adding salt to the sauce.  If your pasta is salty, go light on the salt.

Add cooked pasta to the sauce and toss together. Sprinkle some cheese on top and dig in!


Salt your pasta water according to the sauce you will be using. If you have a salty sauce, go light on the salt in which the pasta is boiled.  If your sauce is a bit underseasoned, go saltier on the water in which the pasta is cooked.

Want perfect al dente pasta? Drain pasta 1-2 minutes before the expected finish time and add to the sauce. Let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce along with a ladle or two of starchy pasta water.

Make sure you leave a cup or two of pasta water kicking around after you drain the pasta.  You might need a ladle or two of the starchy water to better help incorporate or marry the pasta sauce with the pasta.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Main, Pasta
  • Method: Simmering
  • Cuisine: Western

Keywords: pasta, shell pasta, shells, conchiglie, tomato, bacon, smoked pork belly, pancetta, thyme, garlic, butter, budget friendly, recipe, quick dinner, easy dinner

%d bloggers like this: