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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)

Baking dishes can be more than just something we throw in our ovens. They can be decorative and attractive which can add to the presentation of our dishes at parties and gatherings.

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBaking DIsh

I make this recipe every week now too.I haven't had fresh tomatoes in my salad for weeks because of you. Note to Vegetarians: I made this recipe with bacon and without - doesn't need it. If not simply use that vegetarian bacon they sell in the store.

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaul D.

I made this tonight for dinner and it was divine!! I'd make it again in a heart beat. I used sourdough breadcrumbs and little bit more pancetta. Yummy!

April 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralina martin

I made this recipe for Easter! WOW.... I can no longer eat the traditional Ham for Easter and do miss it terribly. Ham has way too much salt for me now and I swell up too much and am miserable for days on end. I love, LOVE, LOVE this dish. My husband was still looking for some kinda meat in it, but he took the leftovers for lunch and wants more this coming weekend. I also left out the Anchovies and used my own fresh homemade Italian bread crumbs which were great. Thank you...this is MY new go to dish every week. Thank you so very much for the share!

April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeyTrud

This is also now my "favorite dish"! I've made it three times since the post, and it is always heaven on a plate!

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKris

Where's the moozarella and Gabba-goo??

May 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMochaJo

I made this tonight! This was so simple and so delicious! The tomatoes were infused with garlicky goodness and oozed all over the pasta. Thank you for this delicious recipe! :)

August 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

I made this for dinner last night, and it really is fantastic! I roasted the stuffed tomatores for an hour in a cast iron dutch oven, then scooped them out, and stirred the boiled spaghetti in the juices. just wonderful.. it tastes very much like a breaded eggplant-type dish. I haven' run into a new recipe that I ve liked so much, in ages. definitely going into the dinner menu rotation. :)

January 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

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