Recipe: Pancetta, hot pepper, olive oil and pecorino

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2D

Serves: 4 to 6

Writes Biba Caggiano: "This is a typical dish of Rome, a dish that peasants, loborers and well-to-do people all seem to totally love. This is also one of the first dishes I order when I arrive in Rome. Because the sauce can be made in the time the pasta cooks, prepare the ingredients ahead of time, and then dazzle your family or friends with the quintessential Roman dish." Recipe from "Spaghetti Sauces: Authentic Italian Recipes From Biba Caggiano."


1 pound spaghetti

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup minced yellow onion

6 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

A generous pinch of hot red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided

Salt, to taste


Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water according to package directions. When pasta is almost done, scoop up and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and stir until it is pale yellow and soft, then add the pancetta. Stir gently until pancetta is lightly golden. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for about 1 minute. Turn off the heat.

Drain spaghetti, leaving just a little water attached to its strands, and place in the skillet. Toss spaghetti with the sauce, parsley and 1/3 cup of the Pecorino Romano cheese, and season lightly with salt. Mix over low heat until pasta is well coated. Add some of the reserved pasta water if needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve piping hot with a bit more cheese, if desired.

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