Make the sauce first. Heat the oil in a wide frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sweat gently for a couple of minutes – don‘t let it colour.
Crush the tomatoes, then tip into the pan. Add a bay leaf, if you have one, bring to a simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring often and crushing down the tomatoes with a fork until you have a thick, pulpy sauce.
Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Leave it as a slightly chunky sauce or, if you prefer a smooth finish, blitz it with a hand-held blender (remove the bay leaf first). You can make the sauce ahead of time and chill or freeze it.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, salt it well, then add the pasta and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the bacon and fry until crisp. Add the tomato sauce and let it simmer with the bacon for a few minutes, stirring often, allowing it to reduce and thicken a little further. Add black pepper to taste – it probably won‘t need more salt.
Drain the pasta and toss immediately with the sauce. Serve straight away, with a trickle more extra-virgin oil on top and more freshly ground black pepper to taste.
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