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!