Bacon Sauce (al Fume)

About this recipe

My great-aunt always said, “A little cream never hurt anyone—it’s the damn chocolate bars and potato chips that make you fat.” Buy high-quality lean bacon and try to use fresh mushrooms. Once you learn this one, who knows? You just might start singing in the kitchen.


Place a large saucepot on the stove; turn heat to just under medium and fry:

  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil,
  • 1 cooking onion (diced),
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (minced, or added whole and removed before browning),
  • 1 lb. lean strip bacon cut into 1-inch pieces (or 1 lb. cooked ham, diced),
  • 1 tbsp. basil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. black or chili pepper.

When the bacon is mostly cooked, add:

  • ½ cup white wine.

Reduce heat, cover, and let wine absorb into everything for 10 minutes. Remove lid, turn heat back up, and cook another few minutes until the wine has almost evaporated. Then add:

  • 2 (28 oz.) cans plum tomatoes (blended),
  • 1 stalk celery,
  • 1 peeled carrot.

Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, and then add:

  • ½ lb. seasoned mushrooms (fresh mushrooms left overnight—or at least a couple hours—in 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. parsley, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. black pepper).

Continue simmering another 10 minutes, and then shut off burner and add:

  • 1 cup table cream (17% MF).

Mix and keep warm until your pasta is ready.


  • Don’t forget the Parmesan.
  • The mushrooms can be refrigerated or left out on the counter.
  • You usually don’t add chili pepper to cream sauce (but sometimes rules are meant to be broken).
    This sauce is also good for baked rigatoni. Mix ½ cup Parmesan in when adding the cream. Slightly undercook rigatoni. In a baking dish, place a layer of sauce, half the rigatoni, more sauce, and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Then do it again with the rest of the rigatoni, more sauce, and more Parmesan. Top with grated mozzarella (or some soft cheese like, friulano) and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes covered, and then 20 minutes uncovered. Use lots of sauce—it can’t be dry.

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