This recipe basically makes a giant pot of pasta with meat sauce. I thought it was REALLY bland, but with some salt, herbs, extra garlic and a bit of hot sauce, it turned into a decent meal. It makes a LOT of food. If you want to save yourself the trouble and calories of the bacon, just add a teaspoon of liquid smoke. It adds no calories to the meal but deliveries a great smoky flavor that the bacon seemed to lack in this dish.