Sunday 16 June 2019

Pasta all' Amatriciana with Tomatoes from Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music.

Pasta all' Amatriciana with Conflict Tomatoes from Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music | salt sugar and i | Dani Elis

Pasta all' Amatriciana with Conflict Tomatoes from Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music | salt sugar and i | Dani Elis

Did you ever play that trust falling game when you were younger? Close your eyes and fall backwards in the hope that your friend catches you. Well, I made this pasta dish the other day and it reminded me of that game. I didn't fall backwards int the kitchen and land in pasta, no, but it did go against everything I've ever done before. I trusted and it worked and it was one of the best homemade tomato spicy pasta dinners I've made.

The recipe, Pasta all' Amatriciana with Confit Tomatoes is from a cookbook called Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music (thank you!). The book itself is split into two sections, technique and recipes that use the techniques you've learnt in the first half of the book. Some of the techniques I am not so confident in such as confit and she simplifies and breaks them down into easy-to-do steps. She then gives you a whole bunch of ideas to use that technique. Such as with confit, she gives you a dozen things that you can confit and shows you step by step how to do it. Garlic cloves, carrots, chicken thighs, potatoes, leeks, lemons, parsnips, tinned tomatoes, salmon, turkey legs, tuna steaks and butternut squash. Other techniques she guides you through are, saute, pan-roast, steam, boil and simmer, slow roast and pastry dough. Each of them then has their own dozen of examples. It's definitely going to become one of my go-to reference guides and that's before even getting to the recipes.

Pasta all' Amatriciana with Conflict Tomatoes from Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music | salt sugar and i | Dani Elis

What I love about this book is that Carla holds your hand through not only the techniques but also the recipes, and if you trust her, it works and you will have the most delicious dinner you won't want to stop eating (unless you put too much chilli in it or are a pansy with chilli, like me). She is also like that on her youtube videos for Bon Appetite magazine, which I am obsessed with! Just remember... trust.

Now for the Pasta all' Amatriciana with Confit Tomatoes, first you confit your tomatoes (see below) or you can use whole tinned tomatoes instead. You want your chunky cut pancetta saut├ęd until it's crispy and most of the fat has rendered down. You then cook off the onions in the rendered fat with some added extra virgin olive oil or oil from your confit tomatoes until soft and sweet, then add the chilli (and garlic if you can't help yourself like I couldn't), then goes the tomatoes. Meanwhile, cook your pasta but cook it 2-3 minutes less than what it says. Save your cooking water! The pasta goes into the sauce along with some cooking water. I used about one cup in total. I know. You're thinking, what!? watery sauce, yuk. Trust her. Trust me.

You keep tossing or stirring, yep, keep on going until the pasta is cooked through/al dente and the sauce has turned silky and coats all the little curves of your pasta. It will look a bit watery and you'll think you've stuffed it up but just keep tossing/stirring that pasta into the sauce. The pasta will soak it all up and you'll be left with perfectly cooked pasta, a silky sauce that is almost creamy it coats the pasta so well and is zingy, spicy and salty with the little nuggets of pancetta throughout.

Serve it piping hot with plenty of parmesan cheese and cracked pepper, a perfect dinner for this cold wet Sunday.

Pasta all' Amatriciana with Conflict Tomatoes from Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music | salt sugar and i | Dani Elis

Pasta all' Amatriciana with Tomatoes

recipe adapted from Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music
serves 4

115g pancetta, uncut
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, quartered, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
8 whole peeled tomatoes or a 400g can
1 teaspoon chilli flakes, plus more for serving
450g long fusilli (fusilli lunghi)
Grated Parmesan, for serving

To start, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta.

Cut pancetta into 1 cm pieces and put in a heavy-bottomed pan, then place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until roughly half the fat has been rendered down and the edges are starting to turn golden brown. The pieces are equal parts crispy and chewy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a plate and set aside. Reserve pot with all it's oil.

Add the extra virgin olive oil to the pot, increasing the heat to medium, then stir in onion and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes until onion is translucent and floppy. This should take about 6 to 8 minutes. Don't rush this step; it's what makes the onion's all delicious and sweet. Then, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until onion is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, tear tomatoes up into smaller pieces.

Add the tomatoes and chilli flakes to the pot and cook, stirring every so often, until tomatoes give up their juices and start to lightly caramelise. Stir the pancetta back into the sauce along with all the juices. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper. Remove from heat and cover pot until pasta is ready.

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and set a timer for 2 to 3 minutes less than the package instructions say (you want it to be very al dente as it will finish cooking in the sauce). Use tongs to transfer the pasta directly to the pot of sauce along with about 1/2 cup pasta water. Cook over medium-high, stirring and tossing continuously with tongs and adding 1/4 cupfuls more of pasta water as needed until pasta is al dente and coated in a glossy sauce, this should take about 2 minutes.

Serve topped with parmesan cheese and more crushed red pepper, if you like it hot hot hot. Enjoy.


  1. Haven't had pasta in ages! Now you have me crave some!

    1. :) I eat waaaayy too much pasta - it's soooo good!

  2. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include. allasiarecipes


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