Panini Girl

My obsessions-Italy and Cooking

September 20, 2011


Pancetta, Tomatoes And Cream-Wow!

Some time back I wrote about my disappointment with the demise of the weekly food section in most newspapers. Each and every week I looked forward to buying the paper and scouring the food section for ideas and recipes. Little by little the size of the food features dwindled and I no longer made it a point to run out and buy the paper.

Well, I have a new love and it comes in the Saturday Wall Street Journal. It’s the part of the paper called Off Duty and it’s a wonderful mix of style, design, travel and food. It’s all quite interesting but it’s the articles on food that keep me coming back. There’s usually a featured chef who contributes very doable recipes, perfect for the season. Earlier in the year there was a weekly column called Slow Food Fast where I found my new favorite pasta dish. I clipped this recipe out, stuck it in my file and then proceeded to forget about it. Over the weekend I was looking for a recipe for some sort of apple dessert when this one reappeared.

Pappardelle With Tomato and Stewed Pancetta

12 ounces dried egg pappardelle (the best Italian brand you can find)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ounces pancetta, cut into 3/4″ pieces (about a cup)
8 whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
Kosher salt
2 dried chiles, crumbled
2/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/2 cup heavy cream

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add pancetta and crumbled chiles. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stewing the pancetta until it turns golden.

Squeeze juice out of the tomatoes, leaving the flesh intact. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to the saute pan and season with salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 7 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to caramelize and color the oil. Stir often and adjust the heat if needed, to ensure that the tomatoes don’t burn.

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and reserve about a cup of the cooking water.

Stir cream into the tomato sauce and continue to cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce binds together. Add pasta to the pan and using a wooden spoon toss it around gently. Stir in half the cheese and add enough of the reserved pasta water so sauce is glossy and coats the noodles. Serve with remaining cheese sprinkled over the top. Serves: 4

I just took a look back at the article and saw that this recipe was contributed by Ruth Rogers, of The River Cafe (in London) fame. She mentioned that this is what she would request for her last meal and after taking one bite I have to admit, that I concur! The subtle heat of the chiles, the luscious fatty pancetta along with tomatoes and cream was just what I needed after a long day.

Spring In Tuscany-Cook With Panini Girl In Lucca

15 thoughts on “Pancetta, Tomatoes And Cream-Wow!

  1. This looks wonderful! So simple but so wonderful.

  2. This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it out!

  3. I have a pound of pancetta ends and pieces in the freezer, I’ve been looking for a new recipe to try it out with, the search is over now, the recipe looks grand. I will make a double quantity and freeze half, my gosh it looks delish!!!

    • Gian-I’m with you-I always try to keep pancetta in the freezer. I wish I could find some place to buy guanciale. Can you get that?

      • I know if I went to a high-end market here in the San Francisco Bay Area (California) it would be possible to find guanciale, but I’ve found (much to the dismay of the gourmand) that for recipes calling for lardo, or guanciale that many times common salt pork can be used, though not always. This I learned from Italians who move here to the States. Lardo cannot be replaced with salt pork when being eaten raw, it doesn’t make the cut.

      • Gian-I remember both my mother and grandmother using salt pork. I’m not sure I’ve seen it in any of my markets. As for lardo-wow-I love it!

  4. I looove pasta, and pancetta, and cream…. what a wonderful dish! And I love the pictures on your blog 🙂

  5. oh this is wonderful! I’ve never had a creamy tomato sauce before! I must try! I love a humble but beautiful pasta 🙂

    Also love your blog!

  6. I just found your blog through Josh Fagans, and I’m so glad I did! I’m loving all of your posts! Can’t wait to see more!

  7. The family ravished this dish tonight. I made it with a few modifications, penne pasta, dried chiles (the kind you sprinkle on pizza) and fresh romas mixed with canned. It came out soooo good! My neighbor gave me some ancient (practically brown) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese she’d been keeping from a trip to Monterey. Lucky us, the difficulty peeling and grating was worth it. We devoured every morsel, and she even got some. I served it alongside steamed artichokes. Because of our schedules we don’t all get to sit down together very often, but tonight I knew we would and wanted to make it special. I’d been saving this recipe in my “in” box on my phone, so looking it up was so easy. Thank you for sharing. I don’t think I’d ever cooked with pancetta before. It certainly won’t be the last time.

  8. Pingback: Cabbage Stuffed Cabbage Rolls | Panini Girl

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