Sometimes your best meals are impromptu and deliciously unexpected. Adrian and I were really hungry, but weren’t sure we had anything on hand to make for dinner. That is… until we saw a bunch of ripe tomatoes and fresh basil in our garden, begging to be cooked up into a sauce!
We found that we had a partially used box of fettuccine noodles, a little bit of parmesan, and frozen guanciale from a lovely farm in Davis. Scouring our pasta recipes, we adapted one by by Scott Conant featured on Serious Eats, but simplified it a bit. I’m not kidding when I say that this is definitely the most delicious pastas we’ve ever made and possibly ever eaten (sorry Scott!). I can’t quite vouch for this being the healthiest thing you’ll eat all week, but that’s okay on occasion! A little guanciale or bacon every now and then is perfectly fine. Just serve this one with a side salad, and this Diet Assassinista says you’re good to go.
Fettuccine with Guanciale and Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce
Time: 45 Minutes
Ripe plum tomatoes, 20
Olive oil, 3 tbsp
Butter, 2 tbsp
Crushed Red Pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
Garlic, 6 cloves, chopped
Basil, 1 small bunch, chopped
Guanciale, ½ cup, chopped
1 lb. dry fettuccine noodles
Parmesan Reggiano, 1 oz , about ½ cup , grated
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato. Ease about 5 tomatoes in the pot and cook. Let boil for about 15 seconds or until skins appear loose and promptly move them into the waiting ice water. Do this with remaining tomatoes.
Pull off the skin of the tomatoes with the tip of a pairing knife. Cut the tomatoes in half, squeeze tomatoes to take the seeds and a little juice out. Reserve juice if needed to thin pasta later.
In a wide pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat until hot. Add garlic and sauté until soft, 30-60 seconds. Add the tomatoes. Stir in basil, guanciale, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and season very lightly with the salt and pepper. Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes to soften and then use a potato masher to break them up finely. Cook the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened.
Cook fettucine noodles in separate pot to 90% of doneness, reserving ½ cup pasta water. Add noodles to tomato sauce and cook for about 3 minutes, until sauce is incorporated. If dry, add some reserved tomato juice and/or pasta water. Serve pasta garnished with parmesan and freshly ground black pepper to taste.