Handmade Pasta with Pancetta, Cherry Tomatoes and Herbs

When I saw that this recipe, in Bon Appetit, was from a chef from Compania I had to tear it out of the magazine. That was back in September of 2006. The other day I was flipping through a cookbook and found the recipe tucked in between the pages.  

The pasta was so easy to make. No machine to clean and it was a light pasta. The sauce, well Fuhgettaboutit! Onions, Pancetta and Cherry Tomatoes. Oh this was delightful! 

I made a video of how to shape the pasta with by hand.

The recipe serves 6. I cut it in half and there was just enough for the 2 of us.

From Bon Appetit, Handmade Pasta With Pancetta, Cherry Tomatoes And Herbs

Ingredients-
2 cups (or more) 00 flour
1 cup hot water, divided
4 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped pancetta (Italian bacon)
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3 cups small cherry tomatoes, halved
16 fresh basil leaves plus fresh sprigs for garnish 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus additional Romano cheese, shaved

Method-

Place 2 cups flour in large bowl. Make well in center. Add 1/2 cup hot water, 4 teaspoons oil, and pinch of salt to well and stir to combine. Gradually mix flour into wet ingredients, adding remaining 1/2 cup water to form soft dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth, adding more flour if sticky, about 5 minutes. Gather dough into ball. Transfer dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 1 hour at room temperature.

Lightly dust large baking sheet with flour. Place dough on work surface and cut off 1/2-inch-thick slice. Roll dough between palms of hands and lightly floured work surface to 1/3-inch-thick rope. Repeat with 5 more dough slices, rolling each into rope. Cut ropes into 1-inch lengths. Using 2 fingers, push fingertips into dough as you pull it toward you to form horizontal imprints. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough in batches. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover with dry kitchen towel, then plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature.

Heat remaining 1/2 cup oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, pancetta, and pepper and sauté until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes with any juices and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Mix in 16 basil leaves and oregano. Season to taste with salt.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and boil until tender but still slightly firm to bite, about 10 minutes. Drain well; return to pot. Add half of sauce and 1/2 cup grated cheese and toss over medium heat until warm, about 2 minutes. Divide pasta among bowls. Spoon remaining sauce over. Garnish with basil sprigs. Serve, passing shaved cheese separately. 

When Chris came upstairs he said it smelled like a pizzaria. That was because I had a Focaccia di Recco in the oven. I had some of the dough in the freezer. Yes it does freeze very nicely! I put Fontina, Mozzarella and a little Provolone in for the cheese.

Ingredients-
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for sprinkling
3 cups bread flour
1 pound stracchino or Crescenza cheese or marscapone cheese

Method-
Using a wooden spoon, mix the water, olive oil, salt, and 1 cup of flour in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour little by little, mixing with the spoon until thoroughly combined. Knead by hand in the bowl for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic (poke it; it should bounce back easily). Let rest, wrapped in plastic, in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 480º F, and grease a baking sheet or a round pizza tray with olive oil.

Divide the dough into 4 even pieces and keep them under a tea towel or wrapped in plastic wrap when not in use. Roll out the dough ball initially with a rolling pin on a floured work surface, then begin stretching it carefully with your hands, using the weight of the dough to help stretch it. Get the dough as thin as you can, then transfer it to the prepared baking tray. Lay spoonfuls of the cheese over the dough. Take another piece of dough and roll and stretch again as before. Lay this layer over the cheese. With a knife, a rolling pin, or your hands, tap the edges of the dough together all along the border of the tray to trim the dough to exactly the size of the tray (see pictures for reference). Go over the edges of the focaccia again with your thumb, pressing down to seal the edges of the two layers of dough (again, see the pictures on this link). Gather the excess dough, and roll into a ball to use for the next focaccia.

Pinch the top of the dough in 5 or 6 places to create holes for steam to escape. Drizzle the top of the focaccia with a bit of oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake for 7 minutes, until lightly golden brown and the cheese has melted.

While the first focaccia is in the oven, prepare the second with the remaining dough (adding the scraps from the first to the balls of dough) and bake when the first is out of the oven; it is recommended to only baking one at a time as the distribution of heat will be compromised with more than one in the oven.

The dough can also be frozen (wrap it tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and then freeze.) Before using the dough, defrost overnight in the fridge or for a few hours on the counter. The dough will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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About butiamlucia123

I am a graphic/web designer. When not at work I love being in the kitchen. It brings back good memories of all the great cooks in my family who are no longer with us. Sometimes when my husband comes home he will say our house smells like an Italian restaurant. I know of no greater compliment.
This entry was posted in Bon Appetit Magazine, Focaccio di Recco, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Pasta. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Handmade Pasta with Pancetta, Cherry Tomatoes and Herbs

  1. BumbleVee says:

    Well, for heaven's sake…. cute little pasta guys with fingers… that's great.

    the sauce does sound yummy … simple and tasty…that's for me then…..

Comments are closed.