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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rigatoni con Crema di Pomodoro e Pancetta Affumicata

If you know me at all, you know I love dinner parties. Last summer, I had a group of 6 people over for dinner. I had a bunch of pasta to cook with, so I made Rigatoni con Crema di Pomodoro e Pancetta Affumicata.

Rigatoni con Crema di Pomodoro e Pancetta Affumicata
(aka: Rigatoni with Creamy Tomato and Smoked Italian Pancetta)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1/4 pound smoked pancetta, chopped
2 large ( 1 pound) tomatoes, coarsely chopped
8 leaves fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream (may sub half and half)
1 box (16 ounces) Rigatoni
2/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Heat pancetta in large skillet over medium heat about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pancetta from skillet and drain fat.

Heat oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Add pancetta, tomatoes, basil and seasoning. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cream and continue cooking 2 additional minutes. Pour tomato cream mixture into blender or food processor; blend until creamy.

Cook Rigatoni according to package directions; drain and return to pot. Add tomato cream sauce; toss.

Sprinkle with cheese; transfer to serving platter. Garnish with additional basil, if desired.

Notes: Now, I really didn't follow the recipe to a 'T'. First off, I increased the recipe by about half. I browned the onion in the pancetta drippings, used less oil, and chopped up about 5 or 6 medium-sized tomatoes for the sauce. It didn't quite look like enough, and it was sorta runny, so I threw in one can of Italian-style stewed tomatoes, along with about half a can of tomato paste. Well, that made it too thick. So I thinned it with about a 1/4 cup of water, and then finally added the cream (I used half 'n' half). I only put about 3/4 of the sauce in the blender, and kept the rest chunky to keep the sauce meaty and robust. For the cheese, I got lazy and used a pre-shredded Italian 3 cheese mix.

Here's how the finished product looked:

Since it was such a lovely night, we dined alfresco. Here's what our table looked like before we dug in. Not pictured is the garlic bread (it had a few minutes left in the oven), and the nectarine cheesecake we had for dessert.


  1. what I want to know is, how did you get the table out to the backyard? I'm thinking of that tiny side door, or maybe out the window? hmmm... ;) looks yummy anyway!

  2. Mmm... the pasta looks great on its own, but to hear that it was followed by nectarine cheesecake! That's just too much. And all eaten outside... I'm in a swoon, for sure. :)

  3. I thought its rigatoni... Why iss it penne after cooked?

  4. Those are Penne rigate not rigatoni