SPAGHETTONI WITH PANCETTA, PECORINO & ROSEMARY CRUMBS
Your ingredients have to be really great here for this simple pasta. A pasta like this is very light on the sauce but that is its beauty. The tomato here is not much – enough to just macchiare. Pici - thick, hand-rolled flour and water pasta is good here, or thick spaghetti. Make the breadcrumbs by hand & quite big – can't use the fine pulsed bought variety here.
5 tablespoons best olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled, squashed with back of knife
80 g hand-broken breadcrumbs, made from day old crustless country-style bread
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
40 g pancetta, sliced about 2 mm thick, roughly cut up
3 tomatoes from a tin
a little ground chilli
350 g thick spaghetti or pici
40 g thin shaved mature pecorino or parmesan
To make the crumbs, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil here and there over the bottom of a large frying pan that will eventually hold all your pasta. Add 1 garlic clove and the breadcrumbs and gently sauté until golden. Turn through with a wooden spoon so they all get evenly golden. Add the rosemary. When the rosemary smells good, remove the pan from the heat and scrape the crumbs into a bowl. Wipe out the frying pan with paper towel and put it back on the heat.
Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. In the frying pan, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the remaining garlic clove and add the pancetta. Sauté until nicely golden, then add the tomatoes. Break them up with a wooden spoon and simmer for 5 minutes or so, to dissolve them in the oil. Season with salt and ground chilli.
Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and add to the frying pan holding the sauce. Add some of the pasta cooking water to help the sauce along. Turn through to distribute everything evenly, then divide among four warmed wide pasta bowls. Serve a little per bowl at first, as much of the good sauce goes to the bottom. Pile the breadcrumbs over the pasta, heap some shaved pecorino over each and give a good grind of black pepper. Serve at once.
Tessa Kiros is a cook, traveller and author of 10 cookbooks. This recipe is from Limoncello & Linen Water. You can follow Tessa's wonderful world of food and travel on Instagram @tessakiros