Serves: 4 – 6
This dish has real significance for me.
It was the first meal I cooked when I moved out of home, a recipe I adapted from Neil Perry and adapt every time depending on what is in the pantry and the fridge. Try it with torn basil, a pinch of sugar, freshly chopped chilli, whatever you want.
The key is in the length of cooking. The longer you can sweat the onions and the more slowly you can reduce the sauce, the better and better it will be. Forget that stuff from the local pizza shop, add lots of chilli and two hours over the stove and this takes on a new dimension.
Add this recipe to your repertoire and know it like the back of your hand. It will make clear to your lady friend that you can turn a pack of bacon and a few things from the cupboard into an amazing, hot and smoky pasta: it worked for me!
Extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 good pinches chilli flakes
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, halved (half a punnet)
1 can tomatoes
1 tbsp capers, drained
2 tbsp black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
Good handful of ham, roughly chopped
10 rashers of bacon cut into lardons
Salt and pepper
Penne, spaghetti, whatever
Chopped Italian parsley
- Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat and add the onions, garlic, chilli flakes and good pinch of salt and sweat as slowly as you can without letting stick to the bottom of the pan; around 20 – 30 minutes.
- Separately, cook the bacon in a pan until golden. Drain and set aside.
- Add the tomatoes, ham, capers and olives, combine with the onion mixture and cook for a minute. Add the bacon and can of tomatoes as well as a can of water.
- Bring to the boil and then drop to a low simmer.
- Cook for an hour to an hour and a half and longer if you can. The key is to removing as much liquid from the sauce as slowly as you can.
- Check the seasoning and chilli and adjust as necessary.
- Cook the pasta, drain and combine with the sauce.
- Serve with plenty of grated parmesan and parsley.
- Enjoy your reward.