Looking through the jumble of items in my freezer, I spied a package of pancetta. I enjoy stashing things like pancetta and proscuitto away for future use, because they elevate simple recipes into something special. This dish is one I use quite a bit, cobbled from other recipes I've seen in the past. In fact, I can't remember the first time I made this, so the original source is lost to me. Gemelli is not the pasta normally associated with this recipe, but I love it, and one of the perks of cooking food is the power to decide how it will be prepared. And that's just fine with me. This time I added some of Lydia's Rhode Island Pepper Sauce and Mor-Sels Finishing Salt. Frankly, the salt is like crack, instantly addictive.
The parsley in this dish would look prettier, but just as I combined it with the pasta, my bird, Roley, let himself out of his cage and began flying through the house. Upsie then gave chase, with me chasing her. By the time I got Roley back in his cage, the parsley had lost it's bright green color. But, the pasta was delicious, nonetheless. This dish celebrates Presto Pasta Night, which was created by the lovely Ruth at Once Upon A Feast. Stop by her site tomorrow to see a roundup of pasta from around the world. It's always a treat.
6-8 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Rhode Island pepper sauce (optional)
1 28 ounce can of small diced tomatoes, drained, or 2 cups tomato sauce
1 Lb. gemelli
1 small bunch parsley leaves
Parmesan, to grate on finished dish
salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of well salted water to boil. Put the pancetta in a large skillet or saute pan and cook over medium-high heat until fat has rendered. Add the onion, garlic and pepper flakes and saute on medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper and the tomatoes, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook the gemelli in the water until al dente, then drain and add to the sauce. Add the parsley leaves and toss well. Serve the pasta, along with Parmesan to grate on top. Sprinkle with a nice finishing salt, like Mor-Sels, if you like.