Simple pasta where natural flavors compliment other natural flavors, and ingredients speak for themselves. That is what I have here for you today. Nothing complicated, nothing fancy. "Just" some beautiful sweet and acidic plum tomatoes, fresh basil, tangy balsamic, fragrant garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. That. Is. It. I am going to assume you want noodles (I will suggest something fine, such as capellini, angel hair, spaghetti or something along these lines, but the choice is yours), but maybe you just want to eat it out of the pot. There is no shame in that game. I have no room to judge. (I mean, seriously, I don't.) I use this sauce for so many things; chicken parmesan, on pizza, pasta dishes with or without a main protein, shampoo... okay, maybe not shampoo. But this is just an under 10 ingredient sauce like Justin TImberlake is "just a person", Beyonce is "just a mom", yoga pants are "just for yoga". (Yoga pants are for everything people... everything.) And if you want to forgo the pancetta and make this vegetarian (how I typically do it, but I had some pancetta in my fridge and thought "yup, this is happening today"), you totally can. Simple use extra virgin olive oil instead of the fat from the pancetta to brown the garlic. Viola!
This sauce recipe will dress 3/4 of a 16 oz package of pasta, serving 5-6.
4 oz diced panchetta (or 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for a vegetarain version)
8-10 garlic cloves
3 lbs plum tomatoes (roughly 15 tomatoes)
3/4 oz (or a handful) fresh basil, reserve a bit for garnish if desired
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1. Dice your pancetta into small cubes. Mine were under a quarter inch. Cook in a pan on meium high heat until most of the fat is rendered (4-5 minutes).
2. While your pancetta is cooking, finely chop your garlic. Add your garlic to the pan once the pancetta fat is ready and stir until browned (4-5 minutes).
3. Add your olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and reduce to a low heat, allowing the balsamic to reduce or 5-8 minutes.
4. While your mixture is reducing, cut your plum tomatoes into 1/4" cubes.
5. Cut up your basil, chiffonade (thin long strips) and add it to the pan, along with the tomatoes.
6. Continue to stir and cook together for another 8 minutes or so on a medium heat. You want the tomatoes to soften, but still maintain some of their firmness.
7. When you're ready to eat you can serve it with al dente pasta, or on any other dish you chose. I tossed my al dente angel hair noodles in with my sauce in the pan and served immediately.
8. Garnish with more fresh basil, red pepper flakes, grated parmesan or whatever you chose. :)