BLT Pasta
BLT Pasta

Get all the flavors of a classic BLT in this delicious pasta dish that’s perfect for hosting a crowd.

I could eat a BLT every day starting in June 1st to September. The mix of crispy and salty bacon, tangy tomatoes, and fresh lettuce is pretty much the perfect food combo you can get.

There’s just one problem: making custom sandwiches can be a chore when you’re cooking for a large family or gathering of friends. By the time you’ve handed out the last sandwich, the first ones will be soaked with tomato juice.

I also add a few chunks of tender, milky mozzarella to the mix because pasta calls for cheese (and it’s an ingredient I love to add to my BLTs).

This dish takes the same flavors of a BLT and turns it into a meal that can be used to feed a crowd; perfect for a backyard hang out with friends on the weekend or a family-friendly dinner.

How to improve unflavored tomatoes

Like a BLT sandwich, this dish tastes best in summer, when the tomatoes you’ll find at grocery stores and farmers’ markets are sweet, tart, and flavorful.

I use grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes, which are very similar but round) for this recipe. For this dish, I prefer these little flavor bombs to larger varieties like beefsteak tomatoes or heirloom varieties because they’re dense and hold up well when mixed into the pasta. (They also have more of a sweet and sour flavor and are less floury.)

Depending on where you live, you can get great tomatoes from June to September, but peak ripeness depends on many hot days, and a cold snap or too much rain can hurt the harvest.

Even in the summer, you can’t really guarantee that every pint of cherry tomatoes you buy will be full of flavor. Well, before I make this pasta, I make sure to season my tomatoes with salt and pepper and, if they’re still pretty bland, I cheat a little: I add a pinch of sugar.

Making the tomatoes a little sweeter by adding just a pinch of sugar (just 1/4 teaspoon or less) brings out their flavors by contrasting with the fruit’s natural acids. The result tastes like tomatoes straight off the vine and enhances the quality of the entire dish.

Sun-dried tomatoes as a secret ingredient

While most chefs consider sundried tomatoes a relic of ’90s cooking, they can be a powerful tool for adding flavor to all types of dishes.

Here I cut them into tiny pieces that almost disappeared into the bacon and grape tomato mixture at the end. While you might not even realize you’re eating them, their flavor adds a contrast that makes the cherry tomatoes taste more ripe and the bacon appear richer.

You can also use sun-dried tomatoes in a classic BLT sandwich! Just mash a few and spread them on your bread for an instant flavor boost.

Choosing the right type of pasta

While this dish can really be made with any type of pasta you like, it’s easiest to eat when made with a shorter type of pasta, especially one with deep curves built into the shape, like small ones Shells or chioccioles (small curved tubes named after their resemblance to snail shells).

Unlike thick pesto or tomato sauce, the ingredients that flavor this pasta — chunks of tomato, crumbled bacon, and a knob of cheese — don’t cling to the pasta itself. Instead, these little bits hide in the curves of the pasta, making it easier to digest with every bite get a lot of flavor.

Swaps and Subs for BLT Pasta

This recipe is really versatile and you can use a variety of different vegetables, pasta and cheese. Here are a few swap and sub ideas:

  • Play with your pasta: Any short or medium-sized pasta will work well here, including penne, rigatoni, or even the new frilly varieties like radiators that have been popping up in markets recently.
  • Swap tomatoes: If you have really good tomatoes of any kind, you can use them in this dish by dicing them into small pieces. Just know that if you toss them with the other ingredients and the juice will seep into the noodles, they will fall apart.
  • Opt for fancy meat: If you’re preparing this dish for a special occasion, you can fry thin slices of pancetta or prosciutto in place of the bacon and crumble over the dish along with the arugula. (Just make sure the meat has enough fat to rip it off for the dressing!)
  • Upgrade your cheese: While I wouldn’t use burrata in a BLT (imagine the mess!), a scoop of this rich, cream-filled cheese is great in this pasta dish. It breaks apart and seeps into the rest of the ingredients instead of staying in clumps like mozzarella does.
  • Choose your green: Can’t find rocket? Instead, try using very tender pea greens for a sweet, summery flavor, or throw in some watercress for a peppery kick (omit the thicker stalks). You could even use some baby spinach. For larger leafy greens like spinach, be sure to cut them into very thin strips, and for any really strong leafy greens (not just spinach, but cress too) start with about half the required amount and then gradually add, as the flavor might overwhelm the dish. (You may also need to adjust the amount of dressing you use.)
  • Add some herbs: If you want to spice up the flavor of the arugula salad, add 3-4 leaves of fresh basil or a small handful of Italian parsley. Cut them into very thin strips and toss them with the dressing along with your veggies.

Storage Instructions

Once you’ve mixed the pasta and arugula together, you’ll want to eat this dish right away before the greens wilt. But if you have too much of each part of the dish and didn’t mix it all together, you can keep it in its parts.

Store the pasta, arugula, and arugula dressing in their own containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

To serve, allow the pasta mixture to come to room temperature to soften the pasta fat and prevent the tomatoes from getting cold. (You can also microwave the pasta, but the texture of the tomatoes will change significantly.)

Check the arugula for freshness and discard any yellowed or slimy leaves. Dress up the leftover arugula and add to the pasta just before serving.

More fresh pasta recipes

  • Greek pasta salad
  • Caprese pasta salad
  • Eggplant caponata pasta
  • Pressure cooker Pasta Primavera
  • Pasta salad with bacon, corn and buttermilk ranch dressing

BLT Noodles

preparation time
15 minutes

cooking time
30 minutes

total time
45 minutes

6 servings


  • 1 pint Cocktail Tomatoescut into quarters

  • 1 teaspoon kosher saltshared, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black peppershared, plus more to taste

  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugarOptional

  • 3/4 Cup sun dried tomatoesfinely chopped

  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzarellacut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 lb bacon

  • 1 lb chiocciole or small clam pasta

  • 4 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oildivided

  • 1 tablespoon Freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 4 1/2 cups infant arugula


  1. Boil water for pasta and line a plate with paper towels:

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Line a plate with paper towels and set aside for later use.

  2. Season tomatoes:

    Place the tomatoes in a medium bowl and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Throw to combine. Taste the tomatoes and if they need extra sweetness, add a pinch of sugar and toss again.

  3. Combine sun-dried tomatoes and cheese:

    In the bowl with the quartered tomatoes, add the sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella.

  4. Prepare bacon in batches:

    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the bacon in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.

    Work in batches to cook all of the bacon. Bake, turning once or twice, until crisp, 5-8 minutes total. Place the cooked bacon on the plate lined with paper towels.

    Reserve 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Pour into a small heatproof bowl. You will use it later to flavor the pasta and salad dressing.

  5. Crumble bacon:

    Using your hands, crumble or tear the bacon into bite-sized pieces over the bowl of tomatoes and cheese.

  6. Cook pasta:

    Cook the noodles al dente according to package directions.

    When the noodles are done, drain them in a colander. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle over 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat.

    Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Throw well. Add the tomato and bacon mixture and stir to combine, then taste the pasta, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

  7. Prepare the salad dressing and dress the arugula:

    In a small jar with a lid, combine the lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and remaining 1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat. Season with salt and pepper and shake well. Taste and season as needed.

    Place the arugula in a medium bowl and mix with the dressing.

  8. Surcharge:

    Divide the noodles among six plates and stack a handful of the dressed leafy greens on each serving.

nutritional information (per serving)
676 calories
43g Fat
32g carbohydrates
39g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!