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
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.