Linguine with Balsamic Tomatoes, Bacon and Manchego Cheese

by Heather on January 20, 2012

This recipe was going to be so many different things.


A pasta salad.


A separate sauce.


President of the United States.


We had big, BIG dreams for this pasta.

And although it clearly hasn’t usurped President Obama (and it’s probably better that way – I don’t talk politics, but I can’t imagine that whole wheat linguine would do much in the way of running a country), this pasta turned into something even better than a pasta salad or a sauce.  My favorite part of it was the teamwork it displayed:


The bacon added some meatiness and smokiness and bacon-ness;


The onions added some great oniony flavor to balance the balsamic;


The balsamic tomatoes added acidity and brightness;


The manchego cheese (my first time to use it) was earthy and salty and sharp.


I’d say in the Olympics of pasta dishes I’ve made in the past this guy’s definitely a medal contender.

Speaking of the Olympics – am I the ONLY one who’s pumped about the games this year?  I’m totally that person who leaves the TV on the coverage all day every day til the closing ceremonies.  I cheer for the obscure sports, but really love to watch Track & Field, Gymnastics, and Beach Volleyball.  You know, all the sports that I’m not good at…except for the volleyball.


I still maintain that this 15-lb weight on my tummy is to strengthen my legs for jumping.  Sure, there’s a baby in there too but he’s doing double duty.  Now if only I could find a beach partner…

Oh wait, this is a food blog…oops!  Moral of today’s post?  Make this pasta, be amazed, and then get excited about the Olympics.  Done and done.


  • 8 oz. whole wheat linguine
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 oz. Manchego cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400.  On a baking sheet toss the tomatoes with the balsamic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 for 30 minutes, stirring every 7-10 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then pulse all of the ingredients (you may have to scrape some of the bits off the sheet pan – do it, it’s worth it) in a food processor until it’s the consistency you want.  Meanwhile crisp up the bacon slices in a skillet over medium heat.  Reserve 1 Tbsp of the drippings, turn the heat down to medium-low, and saute the onions until they are caramelized and tender.  Cook the pasta until it’s al dente according to package directions.  Now it’s time to assemble:  in a large bowl toss the pasta with the tomato sauce.  Add the onions, crumbled bacon, and chunks of the Manchego cheese.  Toss it all together and serve hot (or cold) as a main course or a side.

It’s Friday – I have nothing else to say other than make this.  Now.  And I’ll be over for dinner at 6!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather January 20, 2012

this looks delicious!
also – clearly, i am a fan of the Presidential humor.


2 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat January 20, 2012

I love Manchego (and any really strong flavored cheese) – what a hearty dish!


3 Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables January 20, 2012

I’ve never used Manchego but I’ll have to give it a try. This looks delish!


4 jen b January 20, 2012

Packers fan AND Olympics freak??? And you’ve introduced me to butternut squash mac & cheese w/ chicken sausage??? I’m adopting you! ;)


5 Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 20, 2012

This looks amazing!! I love manchego. Ever since I went to Spain I have been obsessed with it!


6 Urban Wife January 20, 2012

This dish is awesome!! Love the Olympics and can’t wait to see my favorite events: triathlon is my #1 event to watch, then swimming and road cycling. Table tennis is also great for comic relief. ;)


7 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 20, 2012

I LOVE manchego. It’s probably one of my favorite top 5 cheeses after spending a semester in Spain and eating it almost every day. I’ve never put it in pasta, usually just savoring it plain with a smear of quince jelly. So good :) But, I’d love to give this a shot to see how it would be in a pasta dish!


8 Tabitha (From Single to Married) January 20, 2012

mmm… this sounds fantastic!


9 Deanna B. January 20, 2012

I’ll have the Olympics on all day, but I really like to watch swimming (because I was a swimmer in high school), volleyball (played until they expected me to dig for the ball), and gymnastics. I don’t know if rhythmic gymnastics is a “sport” this year, but if it is I’ll watch it too. All while eating a bowl of this pasta.


10 The Food Hunter January 20, 2012



11 beti January 21, 2012

those ingredients really work well together, the pasta is impressive


12 elly January 21, 2012

This looks, in a word, awesome. I LOVE manchego cheese and I can’t wait for tomatoes to get back in season so I can make this.


13 Emily January 24, 2012

Ohh, manchego! I’ll have to try this soon.


14 mimi January 25, 2012

I do the same thing with every Olympics, and I DVR the primetime coverage every night. Can’t wait til July! Oh and this pasta looks fab!


15 Andrea from RaisingPeanut March 8, 2012

Heather, I made this tonight for myself and my 4-yr old (technically still 3). We BOTH loved it! What a wonderful dish! I added asparagus to the “toss”…. that was a nice addition. (Trying to get my son to eat his veggies.)

The only problem was, the tomatoes were ready within 10-15 minutes. I left them in the oven for the rest of the time suggested, but what happened is they sort of dried up, some burned even. The balsamic also adhered to the pan. If I had taken them out at 15 minutes, I think that would have been best. I had to add a 1/2 – 1 cup water to the food processor. Also, what did you do with the left over balsamic vinegar? I had about 2T left. I tossed my asparagus in the dish before grilling them on the stove top. But it seemed like a lot of extra vinegar. Did I do something wrong?

Thanks again for such a great recipe. I will certainly be making this dish again. And again. And again.

And thanks for turning me onto Manchego cheese! YUM YUM!


16 Heather March 14, 2012

i’m so glad you liked it! i don’t know if maybe there’s a difference in the ways our ovens cook (i.e. if mine is just slower or something), but as for the extra vinegar i just used it in the sauce!


17 Elise April 16, 2012

My boyfriend and I made this together for my family tonight, and it was delicious! Everything worked perfectly. We had Butter-Roasted Carrots as a side dish. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for the awesome recipe.


18 Heather April 16, 2012

that’s so great elise! i’m glad you guys liked it!


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