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A Spaghetti BLT From Frances Mayes

Best-selling author Frances Mayes shares her spaghetti BLT recipe, inspired by the classic American sandwich.

9:00 AM EST on November 7, 2023

Spaghetti BLT.

Spaghetti BLT by Frances Mayes.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We are thrilled to have best-selling author Frances Mayes ("Under the Tuscan Sun" and many more) contribute food-writing to Appetito. The recipes shared are from her cookbook, Pasta Veloce, which was inspired by, well, her experiences under the Tuscan sun that includes the production of her very own olive oil, Bramasole, from the eponymous estate where she lives half of the year with her husband, Edward, a poet and olive farmer.

Just like the BLT sandwich that inspired this pasta, the key to success is stellar ingredients: deeply flavored hickory-smoked bacon, the bite of arugula, and juicy tomatoes. Because the tomatoes are not really cooked, just warmed through, choose the best—ripe and bursting with flavor.

Spaghetti BLT

Spaghetti BLT

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Recipe by Frances Mayes


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 12 ounces 12 spaghetti

  • 10 ounces 10 bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips

  • 3 tablespoons 3 extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 1 onion, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 coarse salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 sugar

  • Generous grind of black pepper

  • 1 to 1-1/4 pounds 1 to 1-1/4 tomatoes, cut into ¾ to 1-inch chunks

  • 3 lightly packed cups, about 2 ounces 3 arugula

  • Finely shredded Asiago (to taste)


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until al dente, 10 to 11 minutes.
  • Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water before draining the pasta.
  • Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, cook the bacon in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat, stirring to separate the pieces, until the fat renders and the bacon is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the bacon to a paper towel.
  • Drain off all but about 1 tablespoon fat from the pan.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the onion. Season with the salt, sugar, and pepper.
  • Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the onion is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Stir in ½ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water.
  • Toss the cooked spaghetti with the liquid and onion in the pan to coat. and toss to coat.
  • Add the tomatoes, arugula, and bacon, and toss to mix evenly, including the remaining pasta water, if needed, to moisten.
  • Serve with a sprinkling of Asiago cheese.

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