Tonight I wanted to create something quick, simple and delicious for dinner. Italian food can be all three! It was raining outside, so I didn’t want to leave the house – I rummaged through the fridge for inspiration and discovered a packet of bacon I had no recollection of buying. Luckily still within it’s usage date I settled on one of my favourite pasta dishes; Amatriciano. A simple tomato based sauce with bacon and chilli. It’s a sweet, spicy sauce that works perfectly with spaghetti or penne.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup bacon (removed rind and chopped)
1 small onion (finely diced)
1 stick celery (finely diced)
2 cloves garlic (finely diced)
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 cup white wine
1x400g can chopped tomatoes
salt & pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil (roughly torn)
Pasta (for 3-4 people)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (for serving)
Put a large pan of salted water for the pasta on the stove to heat while you’re making the sauce.
In a large deep frying pan, heat the oil over a moderate heat. Add the bacon and fry for 4 minutes until just beginning to crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the pan. Set the bacon aside.
Tip the onion, celery and garlic into the pan and stir fry for 4-5 minutes until soft. Return the bacon to the pan along with the chilli flakes and cook for 1 minute before pouring in the white wine. Let this sizzle for 1 minute before adding the tomato and 1/2 can water. Stir well and let this come to a simmer. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste.
When the pasta water is boiling, cook the pasta to the packet instruction minus about 2 minutes. Drain and add directly to the pasta sauce over a moderate heat. Toss it around and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the basil leaves and serve.
Arrange in bowls and sprinkle generously with parmesan cheese and black pepper and a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if you’re feeling fancy!