This creamy sun-dried tomato pasta is the perfect dinner for Valentine’s Day! A velvety and flavor-packed sun-dried tomato & bacon cream sauce over gluten-free bowtie pasta. Delicious, indulgent, and classy – a date night must!
creamy sun-Dried tomato pasta
Valentine’s Day is this weekend and I have the perfect easy, decadent, and delicious main course. My hubby and I always prefer to make a romantic dinner at home to celebrate this day of love. What better way to show someone you care than through pasta?!
Introducing my creamy sun-dried tomato pasta. It’s a decadent cream sauce starring juicy, rich sun-dried tomatoes alongside bacon, shallots, garlic, and capers served over gluten-free bowtie pasta. It’s rich and comforting but still somehow simple and light. The perfect meal for this special occasion!
Here’s what you will need for this dish:
- gluten-free bowtie pasta, I prefer gluten-free to keep it a little lighter, but regular works too. You can also use another shape of pasta. I’ve even made this dish with goat cheese ravioli and it was spectacular!
- sun-dried tomatoes, adds a burst of bright, rich flavor that makes this dish shine. I also think it’s ruby red hue make it festive for V-Day! TIP: make sure to use the sun-dried tomatoes in oil (not the dried kind in a bag) as they are juicier so work better in this dish. I prefer to pat the sun-dried tomatoes with a paper towel to remove some of the excess oil so it doesn’t make the dish too greasy.
- bacon, adds that umami crunchy goodness that makes every better!
- capers, add a briny, salty bite that cuts through all the richness of the dish
- shallots and garlic, helps build and amp up the flavors of the dish.
- broth, keeps the sauce light and flavorful
- heavy cream or half and half, makes the sauce creamy and luxurious
- parmesan cheese, a must in my book for any good cream sauce or pasta dish! It’s salty and rich and pairs beautifully with the cream sauce.
- lemon zest and juice, my secret finishing touch. It adds a bright pop of flavor that makes this rich dish still light and refreshing.
how to make this pasta
This pasta seems fancy but it’s actually quite simple to make:
- First, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
- For the sauce, in a large skillet, cook the bacon to render out the fat and crisp it up over medium heat. Remove it from the pan and set it on a paper towel to remove excess grease. Wipe the pan clean, leaving about a tablespoon of the bacon fat.
- Add the diced shallot and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. The excess oil from the sun-dried tomatoes should help keep the pan from becoming too dry (but if it seems dry, add a touch of olive oil). Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the shallots start to caramelize and become translucent.
- Next, add the capers and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant. Remove the sun-dried tomato mixture from the pan.
- Now time to create the velvety cream sauce. First, add a tablespoon of olive oil and flour to the pan (you can also use butter as your fat source; whole wheat white flour for the rue). Cook until it creates a paste like substance. Slowly add the chicken broth and cream to the rue, whisking constantly, until all the liquid is adding. Increase the heat to medium high and cook until the sauce thickens, whisking gently the whole time. This typically takes 2-3 minutes. It should be able to coat the back of a spoon. Fold in the parmesan cheese.
- Once the sauce is thickened, add the sun-dried tomato mixture to the sauce and mix until well-combined.
- Finish the sauce with the lemon juice and zest. This brightens the dish and helps round out the rich flavors.
- Add in the pasta and toss until the pasta is fully coated in the sauce. Use pasta liquid as needed to help toss and coat the pasta.
- Finish with parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.
is this meal healthy?
This meal is definitely more on the indulgent side, but naturally, I did do a few things to lighten it up:
- gluten-free bowtie brown rice pasta: It was full of fiber and nutrients and less heavy than it’s gluten-filled counter part.
- sugar free paleo bacon: I always check to make sure the bacon I buy at the store does not contain added sugar. I also prefer to select a high quality, paleo brand which is free from nitrates and other unwanted chemicals.
- broth + heavy cream (or half and half): I wanted this to be a creamy, rich pasta since it’s for a romantic V-day dinner – which should be a treat! But I also use low sodium chicken broth to build the sauce, which is low in calories and fat but still super flavorful. You can also use half and half instead of heavy cream to make the sauce even lighter but still creamy and delicious.
- pair it with a salad: since the pasta is rich, I like to pair it with a light refreshing salad. I opted for mixed greens tossed with balsamic and olive oil.
other pasta recipes
This creamy sun-dried tomato pasta is the perfect indulgent and romantic meal for Valentine’s Day!
If you make this pasta, please leave a comment below. I absolutely love to hear from you guys and your thoughts on my recipes. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or pin it on pinterest so I can see your creations!
Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pasta
- 6 oz gluten-free bowtie pasta or pasta of choice, I used Jovial
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- 4 pieces of bacon
- 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil excess oil removed and chopped
- Half a large shallot diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese plus more for topping
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice plus lemon zest for topping
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
Cook the pasta according to the instructions, salting the water heavily (as salty as the sea). Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta.
While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set on paper towels to soak up extra grease then chop the bacon. Wipe the pan clean, leaving about 1 tablespoon bacon fat.
Add in the sun-dried tomatoes and shallots and cook until the shallot is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic and capers and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the chopped bacon to the shallot mixture and mix until well-combined. Remove the bacon shallot mixture from the pan.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add in the flour and cook for about 1 minutes until the flour combines with the olive oil and creates a paste like substance. Raise the heat to medium-high. Slowly whisk in the broth and heavy cream and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens (it should be able to coat the back of a spoon) about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Add the bacon shallot mixture to the cream mixture. Whisk in the parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Add the pasta to the cream sauce, making sure the pasta is fully coated in the sauce. If too thick, add in the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, until reached desired consistency and the pasta is creamy and well tossed.
Divide the pasta among bowls. Top with extra parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and parsley.
Serve and enjoy!