Pasta Aglio e Olio con Pancetta
This traditional garlic and oil pasta sauce originated in Naples, but is seen all throughout Italy. This dish is something I grew up with and ate at least once a week. What makes this pasta so delicious is a good quality olive oil, caramelized sweet garlic and salty pancetta. This simple dish is the perfect quick meal that is a sure crowd pleaser.
YIELD: MAKES ENOUGH FOR 1 POUND OF PASTA PREP TIME: 5 MIN
COOK TIME: 30 MINUTES
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
4 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
¼ lb Pancetta Finely Minced (optional)
1 Cup Salty Pasta Water
¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley (optional)
Salt and Pepper
1 Pound Pasta
Tomato sauce is the basis to many Italian dishes, particularly pasta. Contrary to popular belief, it is easier than you think to make this classic sauce. The importance of an authentic Italian tomato sauce comes down to the quality of ingredients being used. You want to highlight the natural sweetness of the tomato and not hide or change it. Our family still jars our own pureed tomatoes, using nothing but San Marzano Tomatoes. Don’t worry if you don’t have you own freshly made puree, there are some great quality options that you can purchase, that taste great. Stay tuned for a coming post regarding our tomato jarring process.
YIELD: MAKES ENOUGH FOR 1 POUND OF PASTA PREP TIME: 10 MIN
COOK TIME: 1 HOUR
2 Jars / Cans Pureed San Marzano Tomatoes (there should be no additional ingredients or spices added, however fresh basil is fine)
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Small Sweet Onion, Finely Chopped
4 Small Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
1-2 Fresh Basil Leaves
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste (optional)
1 Pound Pasta
1. Add the oil to the sauce pan with the onions and cook on low heat until translucent. About 5-7 min.
2. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
3. Add the tomatoes, basil and salt to taste. If the tomatoes are very watery, you may want to add the tomato paste at this point, however, I very seldom add this, as a longer cooking time helps reduce this water naturally. Also, tomato paste should note be used as a flavour component. Remember that quality strained tomatoes is the key to a great tasting sauce.
4. Let simmer on low heat for 40 – 60 min.
5. Cook pasta of choice until “al dente” (cooked through but still slightly firm) in salted water.
6. Once the pasta is strained, pour it back into you pot and add a generous amount of tomato sauce. Toss liberally and serve topped with your favorite salty cheese i.e. Romano or Parmigiano.
A first generation Italian Canadian with a love for food and the Italian Lifestyle.