It’s the sauce that makes this dish memorable and while this classic tomato sauce does take some time and effort, you can make it in large quantities to save and freeze for later use. To make things easier, I used store-bought fresh chicken stuffed tortellini. You can use whatever type is your favorite; everything will work with this classic sauce. In addition to a beautiful flavor, the fresh tomatoes cooked down seem to have a great healing effect on all types of ailments. I love the addition of crisp bacon bits for the smoky flavor and added texture.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
16 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 large red onion, minced
7 medium tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon for pasta water
1 red bell pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
8 slices bacon, roughly chopped
2 packages Tortellini (9 ounces)
Finely grated parmesan cheese (optional)


In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil and butter on high heat. Sauté the garlic and onion until fragrant and translucent, for just a minute or two.

Add the tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt; stir well and lower heat to medium. Simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to high broil. Cut the bell pepper into 4 to 5 pieces; drizzle olive oil and on aluminum foil lined baking sheet, place under broiler for 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly blackened.

Add the tomato paste to tomatoes; stir well. Continue to simmer for another 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Take the pepper out of the broiler and allow to cool for a few minutes. In a food processor, pulse the peppers and 2 to 3 ladles of the tomato sauce until smooth. Make sure to cover the top of the processor with a heavy duty kitchen cloth as the hot tomato sauce may splatter. Add the smooth mixture back to the pot and stir.

Add black pepper, paprika, sugar and parsley; stir well and continue to simmer on low heat.
In a non-stick skillet cook the bacon bits until crisp. Drain on a paper towel; set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil and add the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook the tortellini until al dente (approximately 8 to 10 minutes) and drain. Plate the tortellini on a serving platter; ladle the sauce generously over the tortellini and sprinkle bacon bits on top. Garnish with parmesan cheese.