Simple sauces such as this can easily be doubled or even tripled. Serve 1 batch of the sauce tonight with spaghetti or another pasta and save the rest to ladle over purchased fresh ravioli or tortelloni another night.
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 oz. pancetta or bacon, chopped
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 Tbs. tomato paste
- 2 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes with juice
- 1/2 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. salt
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- 1/2 cup grated aged pecorino romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Make the sauce
In a large fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, pancetta and red pepper flakes and sauté until the onion is softened and the pancetta is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in the wine and tomato paste. Reduce the heat to low and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and the 1/2 tsp. salt. Raise the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes.
Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Add the pasta to the sauce and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with a third of the cheese and toss again. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Serve, passing the remaining cheese at the table. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).