standby spaghetti | bacon + onion + chilli + garlic

Standby spaghetti… for those nights when you’ve got something better to do than cook. Take tonight for example. Saturday’s in iso – we’re burning a few snags on the fire with the kids for a late lunch and then I’m challenging Cork Daddy to a pool comp tonight. So far, Meemar and Grandad AND Gen and Geoff have beaten us at pool since we’ve had the table. The way we see it, we’ve got (at least) 90 days of staying at home to try and brush up on our skills, ready for the onslaught of visitors we can’t wait to host once we’re allowed to be social once more.

So standby spaghetti for dinner it is. Absolutely no fuss, I always have all of the ingredients at the ready – I make it a lot. I think everyone needs to know how to make this; this ridiculously easy, big bowl of comfort food. Totally moreish, it’s on the table in minutes, just as long as it takes to cook the pasta. There’s nothing fancy here.

It really is so simple. Just fry some bacon, onion, garlic and chilli flakes in a good glug of olive oil and then toss through some cooked spaghetti; cooked but definitely NOT over cooked. By all means substitute the minced garlic and dried parsley for fresh if you like. Gosh even substitute the chilli flakes for fresh chilli too if you’ve got it. Obviously fresh is always better – but sometimes, FAST trumps even fresh in my opinion. And if you happen to have some rocket or baby spinach leaves in the fridge, throw a handful of these in for good measure (it’ll make you feel a little healthier).

If you’re a cooking show devotee like myself – you’d hear chef’s say all the time to use “good quality” olive oil (think every episode of any Jamie Oliver cooking show you’ve ever watched). And this kind of dish really does require the top shelf olive oil – not that imported Spanish stuff you can get at Aldi by the litre. You really do taste it so try and use the nice stuff – the Australian stuff. I promise you – it’ll make a big difference.

The other thing I’m always bunging on about is using the pasta water in the pasta sauce – the last thing you want to do is run the cooked spaghetti under cold water like you would of seen your mum do growing up. Please don’t do that. You need the starchiness of the pasta and pasta water to take this spaghetti to the next level; to avoid it going dry.

Oh and one more thing. Aunty Ali always gives me heaps when I write up pasta recipes, “I hate it when you say to use three quarters of the packet of pasta – just use the whole pack!” Yeah, but if you use the whole packet of pasta for this recipe (so that you’ve got leftovers) it just means that you need to use too much bacon and probably even two onions to give it flavour. The last thing you want here is a big bowl of spaghetti without enough of the ‘good bits’. So if you’re channelling the uni student, Ali – where you cook enough in one meal to feed a small army – then do go ahead and use a whole pack of spaghetti. Just make sure you ‘up’ the other ingredients accordingly.

But enough about that. I betta run. Just got the “Muuum can you bring out the sauce” call. The sausages await. Oh and wish me luck for tonight. I’m feeling slightly confident.

“… and don’t forget the tongs!”

standby spaghetti | bacon + onion + chilli + garlic
(Serves 2)
Check out Lo’s tips below.

A little over half a pack of spaghetti (about 350 grams)
1 x large brown onion, finely chopped
4 large rashers of bacon, finely chopped
1 x teaspoon of minced garlic from a jar (if you dare)
A really good shake of chilli flakes (plus more to serve)
A really good glug of olive oil
A really good sprinkling of dried parsley
Salt, for salting the pasta water

  • Cook the spaghetti in salted, boiling water until just cooked – until al dente, (reserving a mug of the pasta water).
  • Working quickly (as you want the sauce to be ready at the same time that the pasta is cooked) you want to fry the onion, bacon, garlic and chilli in a good glug of olive oil in a large fry pan.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, add the strained spaghetti, parsley and a good splash of the pasta water to the bacon mixture and toss to coat.
  • Serve straight away with some more chilli flakes and a good drizzle of olive oil over the top (oh and throw on the rocket/ baby spinach leaves if you’ve got some handy).

    Lo’s tips
  • Go ahead and add some sliced chorizo when frying the bacon if you’re looking for that extra hit. Perfect if you’ve had a big night before (if you get my drift).
  • You can also toss through some semi dried tomato strips, feta cheese and olives if you have them handy.
  • Cherry tomatoes would also work here.
  • Be creative – make it your own.

Please leave your comments below if you make this recipe. xx


  1. Haha Lo, I always ran my pasta under ‘hot’ water – thought it would take off some of the calories!! I will convert. And woe is me, how can I keep my pool game up to scratch??

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely love this pasta …… delicious and so easy.
    my very favourite, I have made it many times.
    Thank you for sharing. Love all your recipes….
    a big fan !

    Liked by 2 people

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