Sunday, November 18, 2012

Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes and Pancetta

Though this recipe is indeed time-consuming, it's incredibly simple to prep and a fun dish to serve! 

To eat, you just crush your tomato on top of your pasta... it makes for a nice, albeit light, sauce.  I have found while devouring this that the meal itself is actually quite dry... I don't know if I just need more crushed tomato topping per serving or if the noodles need to be tossed in a separate marinara first, but it definitely needs some kind of extra sauce.  Do a little experimenting yourselves and let me know!


3 oz diced pancetta 
(bacon can be used as a substitute, though I'm a little over this "bacon is the best" trend... 
I would sub in proscuitto if anything)

6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pasta

2 anchovy fillets... or more.  They are surprisingly delicious when added to meals!

1 cup coarse bread crumbs

4 tomatoes, tops sliced off, seeds scooped out

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 

small handful fresh thyme, parsley, or basil leaves, chopped

salt and pepper

8 oz spaghetti

1.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.   

2.     Fry the pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp around the edges.  Lift the pancetta out of the skillet to a plate.  Leave the rendered fat in the skillet.   

3.     Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the anchovies to the same skillet.  Use a wooden spoon to mash the anchovies until they dissolve.  Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until they are golden. 

4.     Put the tomatoes, cut side up, in a baking dish and slip some garlic into each tomato.  Mound some bread crumbs onto each tomato, getting some inside the tomatoes.  Scatter herbs on top.  Drizzle 4 tablespoons of olive oil over all.   

5.     Roast the tomatoes in the oven until they have browned a bit and the interior is supple but the tomatoes have not collapsed, about one hour. 

6.     Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Drain, but reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. 
7.     Return the pasta to the pot and remove the tomatoes from the baking dish and set aside.  Stir the oily tomato juices and any bits of bread crumbs from the bottom of the tomato roasting dish into the pasta.  Add a little olive oil and the reserved pasta water and toss.   

8.     Pour the pasta into a serving bowl, place the tomatoes on top, sprinkle the pancetta over all and serve.

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