Monday, 8 April 2013

Pasta with Pancetta, Olives & Mushrooms

This is my ultimate “go-to” pasta - I can pretty much always be sure to have everything needed in the fridge and cupboard, and if I can’t think of anything to cook, or more likely want something quick and easy and don’t want to even have to engage brain while cooking, then this is it.

The amounts of the individual bits can vary according to what I do actually have in and I never really measure or weigh when I’m making it but for the purposes of this post I scribbled down a few notes to try and make it a little more recipe, a little less “chuck in the pan”.

As well as being a standby, I really do love it, its flavours are pretty punchy and it just works - to the extent that I probably make it at least once every couple of weeks. This is for two people but if I’ve an evening at home alone I’ll happily have this amount of sauce myself and just reduce the amount of pasta (maybe).

If you can’t get pancetta lardons, feel free to use bacon lardons. Or even just chopped up bacon.

Pancetta, Olive & Tomato Pasta
serves 2

70g pancetta lardons
olive oil
5-6 spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 medium heat green or red chilli, chopped
small handful black olives, pitted and chopped
very small handful capers, rinsed if salted
125g mushrooms, sliced
80ml (ish) white wine
1 tsp chopped basil
1tsp tomato purée
160g pasta, long pasta or shapes

Cook the pancetta in a little olive oil over a high heat for a few minutes until the bits start to crisp up.

Turn the heat down a little and add the spring onions, garlic and chilli. Stir around for a couple of minutes more.

Add the mushrooms, turning the heat back up a little and cook for a few minutes until starting to soften. Mix in the olives & capers.

Add the wine which will bubble up and reduce slightly almost immediately.

Add the tomatoes and purée, stir and leave to simmer for 10 mins while you cook the pasta cooks to just under al denté. Drain, reserving a ¼ cup or so of the water.

Stir the basil through the sauce and add the reserved pasta water. Tip the drained pasta into the pan with the sauce, mix thoroughly, cover and leave on the lowest heat for a couple mins more or until the pasta is al denté.

Serve sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan, or even better, pecorino and some freshly ground black pepper.

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