Pasta with Tomatoes, Pancetta and Herbs

Pasta In Tomatoes, Pancetta and Herbs

Here’s a recipe that’s part of my April 2023 TU story. See the whole thing here.

Pasta with Tomatoes, Pancetta and Herbs
Pasta with Tomatoes, Pancetta and Herbs

This is a recipe that is good for serving to young people (read: it has carbohydrates and meat) and all the other generations, too. This is a mostly-pantry-staple meal, made with simple ingredients and with big rewards. I’m practicing for food like this because Elliot will be home from college soon. The cool thing about this dish is that it’s all cooked together: pasta, tomatoes, pancetta and all. Doing so creates a deeply flavorful dish, where the pasta is infused with the tomato, rather than just sitting in it. The pancetta adds a salty, meaty dimension and it’s all finished with a touch of butter – just a bit – for a silky and slightly creamy finish. You’ll notice this recipe calls for dried herbs. I use plenty of dried herbs all winter and into spring, while I wait for my garden to blossom and give the flavorful bits. Until then, there’s lots of flavor to be found in jars of herbs. Dried basil has a soft, sweet taste, just right with tomatoes and salty meat.


Pasta In Tomatoes, Pancetta and Herbs

Serves 4

4 ounces pancetta, chopped

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 14-ounce cans cherry tomatoes, with their juices

3 cups water

Kosher salt

Pinch crushed red pepper

12 ounces pasta

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a medium-sized pot set over medium-low heat, cook the pancetta for a few minutes, until it’s rendering its fat and softening up. Add the rosemary and cook until the pancetta is  just beginning to brown around the edges. Remove to a plate and set aside, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. 

Add the tomatoes and water, season with salt and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and stir, cooking for nine minutes, or just one minute less than directed on the pasta package. Stir in the butter and the basil, add the pancetta back to the pan, taste and season with more salt if desired. 

Serve right away with plenty of cheese.

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