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Paccheri with Calabrian Pancetta Sauce

Pancetta makes this sauce really flavorful; any pancetta will do but I particularly like a spicy one like Calabrian pancetta but it may be hard to find.

Ingredients

Serves 4

 2 tablespoons olive oil

¾ cup diced Calabrian pancetta

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup diced sweet red peppers or cruschi peppers, rehydrated, drained and cut into small pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup red wine

One 28 ounce can plum tomatoes, pureed

Salt and pepper to taste

12 ounces paccheri pasta

Fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips with a scissors

Grated cheese for sprinkling on top

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a saute’ pan and add the pancetta; cook it until it begins to give off some of its fat. Add the onion, cooking it until it softens. Stir in the red peppers and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. Raise the heat to high and add the wine, allow most of it to evaporate. Lower the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the sauce uncovered over low heat for about 20 minutes.

While the sauce cooks, cook the pasta until al dente; scoop up ½ cup of the pasta water and stir it into the sauce. Use a spider or scuolapasta to transfer the paccheri to the saute pan with the sauce. Toss the pasta well. Divide the paccheri between 4 pasta bowls; top each one with basil and grated cheese.

Recipe Mary Ann Esposito

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