My first memory of this pasta was on a “girls camping trip” in New Hampshire with my mom, aunt and sister when I was ten years old. My mom is an incredible cook, and I credit the many amazing meals she made over my childhood as the root of my passion for cooking and recipe creation. I will always remember the first time I had this pasta, not only because it tasted freaking amazing, but because watching her create this meal was like watching an alchemist turn water into gold. It was my first experience with a meal cooked over fire, and I watched her combine all of these simple ingredients into flavors I had never imagined. The memory of my first bite is still vivid in my mind. It is the perfect combination of things, and a touch of campfire smoke brings so much flavor out of each fresh ingredient.
This campfire pasta is the perfect camping meal because it is easy, comes together in a flash, and it’s super customizable based on what you have on hand. You certainly do not need a campfire to make and enjoy this pasta. I have made it many times in a kitchen, and it is still overwhelmingly delicious. That being said, if you can cook this on a campfire, you should. The smoke really does add depth to the bacon and the tomatoes, making this dish something you will never ever forget!
The recipe that follows is the way I would make this dish in a perfect world, but like I said earlier, it is a super customizable which is key when you’re camping. Cherry tomatoes can be replaced for chopped whole tomatoes… I’ve made it plenty of times with Kraft parmesan cheese even though higher quality parmesan will improve the taste. You can also add more vegetables (spinach or asparagus come to mind), and more protein (a lemon garlic marinated chicken is a sublime pairing). One thing I wouldn’t leave out is the bacon… duh. The bacon is the secret sauce to this pasta. You can use less for sure, but I wouldn’t omit it entirely. It comes together in a second, only takes one pot (to boil the pasta) and one pan, and will leave you dreaming about it for days.
Pro tip: get the ingredients prepped (pre-chop bacon, tomatoes, etc.) before your trip so you can just dump it all together.
Campfire PastaPrint This
- Cherry Tomatoes, cut into halves
- Fresh Basil, chopped
- Bacon, cut into half inch pieces
- Parmesan Cheese, better quality > better taste
- Pasta, any pasta works... I prefer angel hair or linguine
- Butter (optional)
- Prep: cut bacon into roughly half-inch pieces, chop cherry tomatoes in half, chop/tear basil into large pieces, boil water for the pasta
- Cook pasta following package directions
- Cook bacon until crispy, add the cherry tomatoes, chopped basil, and any other vegetable or protein you wanted to include. Mix this all around so that everything is covered in bacon-y goodness.
- Add the cooked pasta to the bacon/tomato mix. Dump in as much parmesan cheese as you want. Toss it around with tongs until combined. I generally add a tab of butter here, but it is not necessary. S & P to taste.
- Serve alongside salad & garlic bread. Sit by the campfire and ooo and ahh over the deliciousness.
Now all that’s left is to enjoy! Luckily, this recipe doesn’t leave you with a ton of dirty dishes so I recommend using the time you’ve saved to slap some s’mores together and call it a night!