Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012



This dinner had its origins in a package of diced pancetta that I picked up from Wegman’s. I really love that store. It makes impulse buying happen far more often, but that’s a good thing. After all, it led me to this dish. I had planned to make Ravioli with Arugula, Tomatoes, and Pancetta, but I didn’t have any arugula and did a google search instead. Amatriciana is what I came up with. The recipe called this a “quick and flavorful classic,” so maybe it’s something Italians would know about, but  it was new to me.


Well, technically the recipe called for bacon, but all the reviewers said to use pancetta, so I’m assuming this is the “authentic” way.

I started off with the pancetta in a pan, cooking over medium heat. I really wanted everything to get crispy, since it would be sitting in sauce later and I didn’t want it to be soggy.


Oops, got too close with my camera and let the lens fog up.


For some reason, it got really bubbly, but you can kind of see that the pieces are getting crispy.


Or not.


Anyway… While it was cooking, I turned to some homegrown garlic from rural Virginia.


After I peeled a bunch of it, this is what it looked like. Each segment was small so this is not as much as it looks like!


The next step is technically to sautĂ© chopped onions with the pancetta, but I didn’t have any. I moved right on to the garlic.

Here I am using my garlic press to mince it into the pancetta. It’s been so long since I’ve done this instead of using the canned stuff!



Let it cook for maybe 30 seconds…


And then move on. The recipe said to use two cans of stewed tomatoes – I used diced. Just add them to the pancetta/ garlic/ onions (if you have onions, that is), along with some crushed red pepper flakes, and simmer for 20 minutes or so.


Meanwhile, boil some pasta. I used fettuccini.


Just before serving, stir a tablespoon of fresh basil into the sauce. I think this stuff is almost as good as fresh. This was my first time really using it. If you’re using dried, I would put it in a lot sooner so the flavor can be released.


I took a picture after it was stirred in, but that one’s blurry, so this picture will have to suffice.


Drain your pasta when it’s done…


And then mix the sauce into it.


And there you go! I topped with some shredded Parmesan and served with some green beans and a garlic bread stick from the freezer aisle. Delicious!


The pancetta lends a smoky, salty flavor to the sauce, and the red pepper flakes are subtle but present – this isn’t spicy, but you do taste the spice. It’s simple, but it’s pretty good. And relatively healthy, if you overlook the pancetta grease.


A good recipe, and one that I’ll be making again (assuming Wegman’s continues to make it easy to find pancetta!).

Here’s the recipe.

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