This easy and sophisticated pasta with pancetta is a perfect meal for entertaining or for everyday dining. You’ll love the smoky tomato sauce!

Pasta with pancetta in an easy smoky tomato sauce in a large white bowl in the foreground. In the background are two glasses of wine, a wine cork, two plates, and two forks.

Sometimes a certain night just calls for pasta, right? Either you’re craving a bowl of comfort food, or you’re trying to impress someone, or you just want something everyone will love. This pasta will fit into all those categories. It’s flavorful, smoky, but still a classic bowl of pasta with tomato sauce. 

Pair it with a green salad, a glass of red wine, and a loaf of crusty bread and you’ve got yourself a beautiful dinner.. 

PS: Looking for a one pot pasta recipe?  Try Pasta Amatriciana (with a similar smoky pancetta and tomato sauce), one pan creamy chicken spaghetti, one pan pizza pasta, or one pan Mediterranean chicken with couscous

A large white bowl full with curly pasta coated in a tomato sauce. Also pictured are bread, red wine, wine cork, fresh parsley.

About this Pasta with Pancetta

Sometimes the most simple things are the best, aren’t they? This pasta is so easy but so delicious and there are a lot of fun things you can do with it. 

First, you’ll crisp up the pancetta and set it aside. You can also use bacon if you’re on a budget or if that’s what you have on hand.

While your pasta boils, you’ll create a simple sauce with tomatoes, carrots, red bell peppers, and onion. It’s seasoned with smoked paprika giving it a warm cozy feel and so much flavor. 

When the pasta is done cooking, you’ll stir that into your sauce and thin it as needed with pasta water. Sprinkle in the cooked pancetta and some fresh parsley and you’re ready to serve! 

Pancetta pasta in a white bowl with red wine in the background.

How to make this pasta your own:

There are a few ways to tweak this to make it your own. Try these:

  • Sprinkle with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese when it’s done cooking.
  • Try adding more vegetables. I like the combo of red bell peppers, carrots, and onion, but it would also be great with mushrooms, spinach, or kale.
  • Increase or decrease the smokiness. You can add as much or as little as you’d like. Just remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it out!
  • Add some heat. Try adding a sprinkle of cayenne or red pepper flakes for some nice heat in this recipe! 

Pasta with tomato sauce and sprinkled with parsley. It is in a white bowl. Also pictured are two glasses of red wine, a wine cork, two forks, two plates.

What to serve with this pasta
Pasta goes well with simple sides! Try:


Pasta with pancetta in an easy smoky tomato sauce.

Pasta with Pancetta in a Smoky Tomato Sauce

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This easy and sophisticated pasta with pancetta is a perfect meal for entertaining or for everyday dining. You'll love the smoky tomato sauce!


  • 1/2 pound pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced small (about ½ cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound pasta (I like to use cellentani)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, extra for garnishing


  1. Put a large pot of water over high heat to boil for the pasta.
  2. In a large deep skillet, cook pancetta over medium high 10 minutes or until crispy. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Drain some of the fat from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon.
  3. Add onion, carrot, and red bell pepper to skillet, and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and smoked paprika, and bring to a boil. Simmer rapidly for about 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  4. Meanwhile, salt your pasta water and cook pasta according to the package. Reserve ¾ to 1 cup of the pasta water when the pasta has finished cooking and before you drain it.
  5. Drain pasta (don't forget to reserve some of the water). Add the pasta to the sauce in the skillet, stirring to combine. If necessary, add reserved pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, to bring the sauce to desired consistency.
  6. Add pancetta and chopped parsley and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with additional fresh parsley.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 252Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 80mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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This post was originally a guest post for my dear friend Brandy of Nutmeg Nanny. Click here to see it!

Note: This post, recipe & photos were updated October, 2019. For fun, below is one of the original photos. 

Close up of curly pasta in a tomato sauce with carrots and pancetta. It is sprinkled with fresh parsley.