Updated: Jul 20, 2018
225g (8oz) dried pasta shells or penne
Salt and pepper
6 slices of bacon - ideally smoked, with the fat mainly cut off
90ml (3 fl oz brandy
15ml (1 tablespoon) chopped fresh tarragon
15ml (1 tablespoon) chopped fresh chives
300 ml (1/2 pint) double cream
100g (4oz) grated Parmesan cheese (you can grate it freshly but I usually use one packet of grated parmesan cheese from the supermarket)
Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente.
Drain and immediately refresh under cold water, then drain well and toss with a little oil to prevent from sticking.
Cut the bacon into small pieces (using a kitchen scissors is easiest). Heat a frying pan on a low heat, and add the bacon pieces. Fry gently, so that the fat remaining oozes out. As soon as it is starting to look cooked, take the pan off the heat, and add the brandy. Put back onto the heat, and boil rapidly until only 30ml (2 tablespoons) of the liquid remains. Stir in the chopped herbs and remove from the heat.
Toss the bacon with the pasta and transfer to a lightly oiled gratin dish. Mix the cream with half the parmesan and pour over the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
Bake in the oven at 190C (170C Fan) or Gas Mark 5 for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve hot.