Penne with Cabbage, Bacon, and Currant Sauce

Simple penne pasta is tossed with a hearty, flavorful sauce using ingredients that can be found in your pantry.


  • 2 pounds penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 strips bacon
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish


  1. Boil pasta 2 minutes short of package instructions and drain. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
  2. In a large 12- to 14-inch skillet, add oil and saute onions, garlic, bacon, and chile to soften and slightly render bacon, about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, lemon zest, and currants and cook to caramelize, then cook the cabbage until barely tender, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the vinegar, stirring to deglaze the pan. Add the pasta water, milk, and cheese. Stir to heat and melt cheese. Add the penne to the pan. Squeeze over half the lemon. Serve with extra grated cheese.
Need help with the ingredients? Check our pantry list: