I cannot take any credit for this taste bud pleaser. I was treated to a homemade meal last night and it was FAB-U-LOUS. It was so fun to have someone cook for me instead of the other way around. I have to say I was so impressed with how authentically Italian this dish was. Now this meal consisted of bruschetta and bucatini pasta with a pancetta tomato sauce–all homemade.
Bucatini is a type of pasta that is spaghetti-like but looks thicker because it has a hole running through the middle. This is my new favorite pasta, it is strong enough to hold up to robust sauces and is very traditional in several Italian regions. There is an amazing fresh pasta counter at Eastern Market, which is where my chef for the evening purchased the pasta. Fresh pasta has a fairly short shelf life so make sure not to purchase it more than a few days before you’ll be cooking with it. Also because the pasta is fresh and not dried the cooking time takes only a fraction of the time that it takes dried pasta to cook (the boxed pasta from the grocery store). Just a few minutes in boiling water is all you need, leave it in for longer and the pasta will start to get mushy, so you have to watch that pasta like a hawk, I’m serious.
The pasta sauce was made from scratch, so delish and super easy to make. By making a basic tomato sauce from scratch you hold onto so much more of the nutrients because you are using whole, fresh ingredients. Tomatoes have so many nutritional benefits to them and those nutrients can be best tapped into during the summer months. Spring and Summer are the natural growing seasons for tomatoes although nowadays you can get tomatoes year round at the grocery store. You can really taste the difference between tomatoes that you purchase in November versus July. Tomatoes available during the summer months tend to be more juicy, less grainy or mealy in consistency and the color of the skin is more vibrant. Tomatoes contain so many vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, Potassium and lycopene, which has cancer prevention properties as well as cell renewal and protection properties. In short, homemade tomato sauce=delicious, healthy and easy.
Just saute an onion, some garlic and a little bit of carrot. Let them brown then add tomatoes and liquid and let it simmer on the back burner for an hour or so. Stir occasionally and voila! impressive homemade tomato sauce. Now we added pancetta to the whole mixture, and let me tell you it took the sauce from good to nothing short of exceptional.
We also dined on some bruschetta as an appetizer. I don’t know if you can tell but the bottom right piece in the picture has a bite taken out of it, yep that was my doing. We made ours a little fancy by toasting the leftover pancetta and parmesan cheese atop the french bread. Mmmmm mm mm. Really making my mouth water just thinking about it.
Moral of the story: amazing meal. Fellas, do your girl a favor and make her a nice homemade meal, she will really appreciate it and we both know that she deserves it. Highlighted are the links to the recipe for both the pasta dish and the bruschetta. Enjoy!