Express bacon and pesto pasta

Full of delicious textures and flavours, this quick-to-make dish is ideal for a weekday lunch or supper.

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Mary Berry recipes
From Mary Berry's Foolproof Cooking


  • 150g/5½oz broccoli head, thick stem removed
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 350g/12oz penne
  • 300g/10½oz smoked back bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 150g/5½oz basil pesto
  • 150g/5½oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 25g/1oz pine nuts, to serve
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 25g/1oz Parmesan shavings, to serve


  1. Cut the broccoli into florets and chop the green stems into small chunks.

  2. Heat a small frying pan until hot. Add the pine nuts and dry fry over a medium-low heat for a few minutes, until toasted and golden brown.

  3. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, then add the onion and penne. Cook according to the pasta packet instructions, adding the broccoli 3 minutes before the end. Drain the pasta and vegetables, refreshing the broccoli separately in cold water to stop the cooking and to set the colour.

  4. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a large, dry pan over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown, stirring often. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cooked bacon and add the remainder to the pasta.

  5. Add the pesto, tomatoes and broccoli to the cooked pasta mixture. Season with black pepper and stir.

  6. Tip into a serving dish, scatter with toasted pine nuts, the reserved bacon and Parmesan and serve.

Recipe Tips

Once made, this dish will keep covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.

With the addition of a few tablespoons of good mayonnaise, this dish makes for an excellent cold pasta salad, too.

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