saffron pasta with pork and tomato sauce

ingredients
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 12 ounces gnocchi-shaped pasta or orecchiette
  • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino Sardo or pecorino Romano cheese (about 3 ounces), divided
NOTE: When we first tried this all we had in hand was a block of Parmesan, and for pasta we used penne as that was the closest alternative in our pantry. preparation Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté until fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add onion and parsley; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add ground pork and sauté until brown, breaking up with back of fork, about 8 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and sage. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce thickens and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (can be made 2 days ahead. Chill uncovered for 1 hour, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over low heat before using.) Cook pasta with saffron in large pot of boiling salted water until pasta is tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return to same pot. Add sauce and 1/2 cup of cheese; toss to blend. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and serve. NOTE: We saved the pasta water and combined pasta with sauce in the sauce pan, so we could add pasta water as needed to prevent overly thick sauce. We also added extra pasta water to leftovers before refrigerating, as they will get drier when reheating. nutritional information n/a yield: 6-8 servings time: 45-60 minutes source: The Bon Appetit Cookbook, p.207

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