Once a year, whether it needs it or not (who am I kidding….it ALWAYS needs it), I spend some time totally emptying my freezer to assess its contents and craft a plan for how I'll eventually move all the goodies stored therein from the deep freeze to my belly.
Today was not that day.
Rather, today was just a mini-version of said inventory, concentrating on just what I could see in the upper most stratum without getting mired up to my elbows in the icy depths. As it turned out, there were quite a few tasty morsels within easy reach, two of which I extricated to make this pasta dish. I always have a few boxes of dried pasta in my pantry so that a tasty meal is never more than a quick glance at the freezer and a quick plumbing of my veggie crisper away.
Today I found a lovely hunk of guanciale and a zip-lok bag of about a dozen roasted tomatoes in the deep freeze. To these I added the balance of a bag of arugula from my fridge, some onion, garlic, fresh rosemary from the garden, and some crumbled goat cheese.
It was a beautiful thing.
Cheers – Steve
- 8 ounces dried pasta (use whatever shape turns you on, I used fusilli)
- 6 ounces guanciale, cut into lardons (pancetta or a thick cut bacon will substitute)
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 cups packed arugula
- 10 oven roasted roma tomatoes - recipe HERE - (or sun dried, roughly chopped)
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- splash of dry white wine
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- EVOO and freshly minced chives for garnish
- Cook the pasta in well salted boiling water per the manufacturer's instructions to al dente. Remove about 1/2 cup of the cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, place the guanciale with a glug of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat, and cook until it has just started to take on some color and has rendered some fat, about 5 minutes. Add the onion to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is caramelized, about an additional 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the rosemary and cook for another minute or two.
- Add a healthy splash of white wine and the roasted tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the pasta, arugula, and about 2-3 tablespoons EVOO and toss to coat. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Reduce heat to low and cook just to wilt the arugula and heat the pasta. If the pasta looks a little dry at this stage add back a little of the reserved pasta water.
- Spoon the pasta into warmed bowls, garnish with crumbled goat cheese, a drizzle of EVOO and freshly snipped chives.