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« Make Your Own Tomato Paste - Estratto | Main | Welcome to My New Home »

My New Favorite Dish - Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, Pancetta

This is my new favorite dish.  It has to be, because I've made it every single week since I saw the recipe.

It's a luscious dish of pasta topped with tomatoes which are roasted with bread crumbs and stuffed with slivers of garlic.  Fresh herbs and crispy bits of pancetta top it off.  The flavors are perfect together.  To eat the dish, you just crush your tomato on top of your pasta and it makes this incredible sauce.  

This recipe comes from the new book, Canal House Cooking by Christopher Hirscheimer and Melissa Hamilton.   Christopher Hirscheimer is one of the founding editors of Saveur Magazine and is one of the most outstanding food photographers. Melissa Hamilton was food editor of Saveur and is a recipe developer and food stylist, having done work at Martha Stewart Living and Cooks Illustrated.   I love Hirscheimer's photography - she was the photographer for Lydia Bastiniach's book, "Lydia's Family Table" and one of my personal favorites,  "A Platter of Figs" by David Tanis.   I've loved her photography for a long time but did not know that she had written a book until I saw a post on Twitter from Colman Andrews about Canal House Cooking.  I took a look at the book and had to have it.  She and Melissa are going to publish three volumes of this cookbook (Summer, Fall and Holiday, Winter and Spring) and you can buy either one issue or subscribe to the whole set.  But that's really not a choice, is it?  Because once you see the Summer volume, you'll want them all.  And I think it's so neat that they are publishing it themselves!  So click on over there and subscribe.  You can read all about the cooking studio they have set up.

One of the only things I took the liberty of adjusting in the recipe is the addition of the pancetta. In their recipe, Canal House adds the cooked pancetta before roasting the tomatoes. For me, the pancetta almost burned in the oven.  So, after I fried up the pancetta, I set it aside and simply added it to the finished dish. 


Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, Pancetta 

for a printable recipe, click here

adapted from Canal House Cooking

serves 4 (or 2 very hungry people)


  • 3 ounces diced pancetta (if you can't find pancetta, you may substitute bacon)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pasta
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs*
  • 4 tomatoes, tops sliced off, seeds scooped out
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 
  • small handful fresh thyme, parsley or basil leaves, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 ounces spaghetti


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fry the pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp around the edges.  Use a slotted spatula or spoon to lift the pancetta out of the skillet to a plate.  Leave the rendered fat in the skillet.  Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the anchovies to the same skillet.  Use a wooden spoon to mash the anchovies until they dissolve.  Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until they are golden.

Put the tomatoes, cut side up, in a baking dish and slip some garlic into each tomato.  Season the tomatoes with plenty of salt and pepper.  Mound some bread crumbs onto each tomato, getting some inside the tomatoes.  Scatter herbs on top.  Drizzle 4 tablespoons of olive oil over all.  Roast the tomatoes in the oven until they have browned a bit and the interior is supple but the tomatoes have not collapsed, about one hour.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Drain, but reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Return the pasta to the pot and remove the tomatoes from the baking dish and set aside.  Stir the oily tomato juices and any bits of bread crumbs from the bottom of the tomato roasting dish into the pasta.  Add a little olive oil and the reserved pasta water and toss.  

Pour the pasta into a serving bowl, place the tomatoes on top, sprinkle the pancetta over all and serve.

 * make your own fresh bread crumbs.  Just tear bread, place in your food processor and grind.  

See the long, oval spoon in the photograph above?  That spoon is an olive spoon and it works great for digging olives out of their long, narrow jars.  But what I discovered is that it is simply the best tool ever to dig out tomato seeds!  It makes the job so much easier.  I love that thing!

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Reader Comments (58)

As much as I love your plum tart I will love this dish.Thanks so much~ Beautiful. The book looks great too.

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonique

i think your food photography is great!

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjude

I can't wait to try this. However, what would you recommend to replace the anchovies? My husband doesn't like them.

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJacquelyn

Jacquelyn: Actually, your husband won't even know they are there. My husband won't eat an anchovie to save his life, but devours this dish. He has no idea the anchovies are in it. (Shhh!) The anchovies dissolve when you cook them in the beginning and they add a depth of flavor that's really nice. They provide what is called "umami" and if you want to read more about this flavor, read this post:

However, if you absolutely want to leave them out, you certainly can!

September 16, 2009 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I can see why it's your new favourite dish, it looks just wonderful. What an inspiring post.
thanks for the links to canal house cooking, I am off to look at it now...I too greatly admire Christopher Hirscheimer's photography, so I am intrigued.
I really ike the new layout by the way.

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

Holy Awesome!
I know what i'm gonna be making this week, for sure.

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterIan

Such a beautiful blog. I'll make that dish. Love your pictures.

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHélène

This looks unbelievable! I love roasted tomatoes. I have them rarely but when I do, I always wonder why I don't make them more often - so good!

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermaris

This spag looks succulent! Thanks for sharing :)

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKarine

Elaine, I can hardly describe in words how good this looks! But with one look, I instantly knew I would make it!

September 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

Wow. What a beautiful presentation thsi would make as well. Talk about a conversation starter.

September 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBellini Valli

Wow. What a beautiful presentation thsi would make as well. Talk about a conversation starter.

September 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBellini Valli

Wow, I just made this dish. My family AND picky guests loved it! Thanks to your simple pasta instructions, I also tried home made fetuchini for the first time. YUM! My husband says you're even better inspiration for me than Jamie Oliver...hee hee. Thanks so much!

September 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKat

From The Italian Dish:

Wow, thanks Kat. I love it when I get people to cook things that maybe normally they would not have!

September 19, 2009 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I made it this weekend (with the anchovies), and you were right. You don't taste the anchovies. My husband and picky daughter really loved the dish - and I never told either of them about the anchovies.

I read the article on "umami" and may even start adding a few anchovies to my sauce.

This was a WONDERFUL dish.

September 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJacquelyn

From The Italian Dish:

Brava, Jacquelyn! I'm so pleased you tried it with the anchovies. It just gives it that extra something special!

September 21, 2009 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I made this last night. It was so yummy! I may never go back to marinara!

September 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

meravigliosi spaghetti, questi sono i miei
un saluto dall'Italia

September 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStefania

You're an artist. Thank you for showing us how :)

September 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Little Teochew

Mrs. McCardel,

My roommate and I made this the other night and it was delicious! We mixed it up a little bit by taking the insides of the tomatoes, adding a little chicken broth to it and cooking along side the stuffed tomatoes in the oven for some additional sauce. The dish was fantastic, thanks for the recipe!

September 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErika L

From The Italian Dish:

Stefania: Grazie e ciao dal Michigan!

Erika: Brilliant idea! I feel bad about throwing out the insides of the tomatoes - there's so much flavor there. I will try your method next time!

September 27, 2009 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

OH. MY. GOSH! I have got to make this!

This looks so amazing that I am utterly freaking out! Will you marry me? Wait... forgot to look... male or female? Who cares?

Seriously, I think you and I could dine together very happily for years!

Although we might fight over who got the last anchovy in the salad, right?

Have a great night and thanks for posting this. I gotta get me an olive spoon!

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarti

Well, ok, I just proposed to a married woman. Nevermind.

But you do have those beautiful sons, huh? Gorgeous family!

(I think I got confused by the anchovies. Women will so rarely eat them. You must be Italian---thru and thru.)

have a great day!

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarti

From The Italian Dish:

Marti: Thanks for the marriage proposal! You are too funny. . . Martismarti. . .I like that.

October 11, 2009 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Oh. My. Goodness. Simple to make and sounds very tasty. I'll be trying it soon!

November 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSallyK

this is delicious! As a college student living in a tiny on campus apartment with an even tinier kitchen, I'm always looking for easy recipes that still feel impressive. This certainly hit the spot!

November 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterellen

I was looking for a roasted tomato soup recipe, read your's and can't wait to try it. However, will the flavour be changed dramatically by using vegetable stock intstead of chicken? My partner is vegetarian. Thanks, :)

November 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

From The Italian Dish:


You can certainly use vegetable stock. I don't think the flavor will be as rich, but it will still be good!

November 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

What a beautiful dish to serve on any weeknight because it looks simple or as a pasta course for a more elegant dinner because it is simple gorgeous.

Your photography doesn't hurt either!

January 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWaverly

This looks so delicious! Gotta get my hands on that cookbook.

January 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermaggie

Elaine, wow! just had time to look again at your are amazingly talented on all levels!
Can't wait to get back to Michigan (Florida for the rest of the winter) and try some of your awesome recipes on Rog and Jody when they come to our house next time! I just love all your insightful hints and humor! Kris W.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkris w. Grand Rapids, Mi

Just found your blog through another blog (La Table De Nana?) and have fallen in LOVE. Have downloaded so many recipes this morning; this one, Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes is already on the menu docket for this week. Just signed up so I won't miss any of your postings. Thanks in advance for helping me cook delicious meals. Judy Beatty, Houston, Texas

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJudith

I made this last weekend and was DELICIOUS. My boyfriend didnt make a peep until he was done eating and then looked at me and said: Oh my God! X)

I always read you :) Hugs from Spain

February 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBoo

ok...ok. i am in! this is on the menu to tomorrow night!

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonald

Oh My !! I made this tonite for dinner and it was absolutley delicious. Thanks again for another fabulously easy and great tasting dish. The roasted tomatoes were the star with my family !!

April 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersusan

this recipe is surprisingly good!
even more surprising was eating the leftovers a few days later; they were incredible

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdouglasalan

I saw this on your sidebar tonight and had to comment.
I LOVE roasted cherry tomatoes w/ bread crumbs and pasta.......I will have to try this.

What is wrong w/ me that I don't love the Canal House books and everyone else does?
I just ordered the upcoming June issue......I do love their photos, but I find either the recipse are too simple, or they don't tell you how much time to cook the rolled flank steak, etc.
Maybe it's just me!

But, I trust you and your taste, and this recipe looks like a winner!
I will make it as soon as Jersey tomatoes are in season!

I love your photos (and I have an olive spoon! great tip!).
Thanks for letting me ramble!

June 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstacey snacks

From The Italian Dish:

Stacey: Thanks! You are too funny. You can ramble on my blog anytime.

June 8, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I've come back and reread this post. I now have to try this, since i have so many tomatoes sitting on the counter and you've convinced me. Do you think it would be a good first course for guests, if I made real small portions?

June 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela@Spinachtiger

From The Italian Dish:

Angela: I think it would be a very nice first course - everyone could have one nice tomato. You could even serve them in individual little gratins or something.

June 10, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I tossed the pasta with a light pesto then made the recipe as indicated - it is yummy , I toasted pine nuts to sprinkle on the tomatoes with the bacon - love this site and have had this recipe in mind for quite a while -

July 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranon yummy us

This looks delicious!! I can't wait to try it out! I just found your blog and love your photographs and recipes. I'm hoping to try your bread making tips... I've never made it before, but fresh homemade bread would be such a great item to have in the house!

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea

Good Morning. I am making this for my in-laws this weekend, and I can't wait to WOW them with this dish. Oh, and your Parmesean Crisps are definitely going atop the salads, I love them.
Happy Cooking!

August 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

This dish is WONDERFUL! Just discovered your blog yesterday and I love it! Thank you!!!

August 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterskinny pig

I made this last night and followed the recipe to the T - it was amazing. Wonderful. I plan on making this the next time I'm hosting a family and/or friend dinner. It is that impressive. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!!

September 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

This is a delicious recipe as written and I've made it 3 times this week. Yet my husband hasn't tired of it and asks for it again. It adapts so well to alterations: making an oil/garlic sauce with the tomato juices; browning butter and adding cooked pancetta pieces; variations are endless but the original is the one I keep returning to. Thank you, Elaine!

October 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

I have been looking for a dish like this that would be a nice compliment to the spinach lasagne we are planning for christmas eve.
I think I may add shrimp to a few of the dishes for my boys.......they love their shrimp. What do you think about that?

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterflowerchild59

From The Italian Dish;

Shrimp in this dish? Yes, totally! I think it would be great .

November 9, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

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