I’m going to wager a bet that this sauce becomes your go-to for the perfect pasta night. I know it did with us! We had been given the idea by a few new Italian friends – and boy o’ boy are we happy we met them! Simple and basic, yet incredibly flavourful, rustic, and fantastically Italian. Some keys to remember – don’t skimp on the good stuff – go for good quality Passata or canned tomatoes (San Marzano are great!), pancetta, and Pecorino Romano. Fresh Pecorino, not the pre-grated stuff that’s so easy to get wrapped up in. If you take your time with great ingredients, the recipe will come together a heck of a lot quicker – and with less adjustments! Buon appetito Monday, I’m sure you’ll be loving me after trying this recipe!
Serves 2 (plus leftovers) / 4 as a primo
- 2 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2, 1-in slices pancetta, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup onion, minced
- 1 scant pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup passata (or canned tomatoes, crushed)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs, ie. flat-leaf parsley & basil
- 3/4 lb. spaghetti (1/2 package)
- Freshly grated Pecorino Romano
- Coarse salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup starchy pasta water
Bring a pot of water to boil for pasta. When boiling add in a generous amount of salt. You almost want the water to taste like the sea. Drop in the pasta and good to the manufacturers instructions. Be sure to dunk a glass measuring up in the pasta water, and set aside. When the pasta is al dente, drain and set aside until the sauce is completed.
Meanwhile, in a sauteuse or sauce pan, heat olive oil at medium to medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add in the pancetta. Sweat the pancetta for 2 – 3 minutes – you’re not looking for colour here. Add in the onion and garlic. Sweat for another 2 – 3 minutes, then add in the red pepper flakes and deglaze with red wine vinegar.
When the vinegar has dissipated, add in the passata. Combine, and taste. Season with salt and pepper, and taste again. Are the tomatoes still too acidic? If so, add in a tsp of sugar or honey.
Simmer for another 5 minutes, just to let the flavours marry together. Add the pasta to the sauce, toss in the fresh herbs, add in a little of the starchy pasta water, and gently combine with a sturdy set of tongs.
Plate with a good sprinkling of freshly grated Pecorino Romano and a light drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil.
Pair this with a fantastic bottle of Italian red, and you’ll be whisked away to Napoli in no time. <3