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Vida’s Pasta

I rarely cook on a Friday, but the prospect of not cooking lunch on a Saturday is strong with this pasta. A small helping is filling, but you also can’t help yourself, so one bowl can easily become three. Meet “Vida’s pasta”.

This is my mother-in-law’s recipe. It’s a labour of love with lots of chopping, some stirring, some waiting for the ingredients to marry and effuse particular aromas to guide the process.

On the surface, the recipe reads like a smoortjie and sour cream pasta, but I assure you it isn’t. I’ve managed to flop this pasta once, simply by rushing the process, so take your time.

Vida’s Pasta

Nastassja Wessels


  1. 4 medium tomatoes

  2. 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil (or oil of your choice)

  3. 4 medium onions, finely chopped

  4. Salt and pepper to season throughout

  5. 1 green pepper, finely chopped

  6. 500 g (2½ x 200 g packets) smoked bacon bits

  7. 2 tbsp (30 ml) butter

  8. 1 x 250 ml tub (1 cup) sour cream (or crème fraîche)

  9. 1 x 500 g packet spaghetti


  1. Place the tomatoes in a bowl of boiled water. As soon as the skin partially bursts or rips apart, peel it off by hand. Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

  2. On medium heat, add the oil to a pot, followed by the onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let the onion sweat for about 5 minutes. Add the green pepper and continue to let everything sweat until it reaches just a hint of caramelisation, but not too much.

  3. Add the tomatoes and let it smoor and cook through. Add some more pepper (my hubby loves this recipe with loads of pepper, so add to taste if you like peppery pasta).

  4. Add the bacon and let it cook through until you get a nice sweet, smoky aroma.

  5. Add the butter and let everything simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes, or longer if you wish. It should give off its own caramelly flavours at this point.

  6. Depending on how much cooking time is indicated, cook for the remainder of the time – usually about 11 minutes. If you are like my hubby and have a tendency to flop cooking pasta, here are some tips: get the water to a rolling boil before you add the pasta; put the timer on and cook according to the time instructions, adding an extra minute. Drain. For this recipe, it’s best to break the spaghetti in half before you add it to the pot.

  7. Remove the sauce from the heat. Add the pasta to the sauce and let it cool a bit. There should still be some steam, but not too much. Don’t forget to season some more. Taste if you need to.

  8. Here’s why you should break the pasta strands in half: mix the sour cream/crème fraîche very well through the pasta. It doesn’t mix through so well if strands are whole.

  9. Wait about 20 minutes before serving, occasionally stirring everything through again (removed from the heat, of course).

  10. Thanks to my mother-in-law for this recipe. It’s been the meal that keeps on giving since her son went from friend to forever boyfriend... 

NOTE: You could use linguine or tagliatelle, but it just doesn’t taste the same to me.


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