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Reduced Sodium Penne Boscaiola (Woodsman Pasta)

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

This post comes at just the right time. The first few snowflakes are flying and it's hunting season so it means that it's the season for hearty, savory comfort food.

In last week's post I talked about my dislike for mushroom texture but my love of the umami mushrooms bring to a dish. This recipe uses that Umami powder from last week's recipe and it jumps the flavor profile and adds an earthy, savory complexity without the mouthfeel of mushrooms.

For a serving of 2, it comes in at 320 mg per serving


  • 4 slices reduced sodium bacon, cut into thin strips

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

  • 1 medium onion , sliced

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons umami powder

  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (from about 8 sprigs)

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 15-ounce can no salt added tomato sauce

  • 4-oz dried penne pasta

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

  • 1 ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-high heat. Stir often and remove with a slotted spoon to a plate once it's golden brown.

  2. Add the umami powder to the rendered bacon fat and stir until the powder is saturated. You may need to add some olive oil if the powder is still dry. You want it to create a type of paste.

  3. Stir in onion, thyme and garlic and cook until softened. If the pan becomes dry, add some olive oil. Season to taste with black pepper.

  4. Add the bacon back to the pot along with the tomato sauce. Cover and bring to a simmer.

  5. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is almost al dente. We want the pasta slightly undercooked because it will finish in the sauce. Drain the pasta and save 2 cups of the cooking water.

  6. Back to the sauce, add the cream and the pasta and bring to a simmer. If the sauce starts getting too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to thin in out.

  7. Remove from heat, sprinkle with cheese and parsley and serve!

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