Pancetta Pasta with Creamy Red Sauce
Impressive and easy, in equal measure.
A classic Italian sauce with a twist, this rich and satisfying dish uses Everclear to brighten up canned tomatoes and add depth to caramelized onions and flavorful pancetta.
Kosher Salt, To Taste
1 Lb. Rigatoni/Penne Rigate Pasta
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
¼ Lb. Diced Pancetta, Optional
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
½ tsp. Red-pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
½ c. Everclear
28 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
½ c. Heavy Cream
¼ c. Grated Grana Padano
¼ c. Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp. Chopped Italian Parsley
1. Bring a pot of generously salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
2. While the pasta cooks, prepare the Everclear sauce. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the pancetta. Cook until pancetta is crispy and fat is rendered. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside. Add the onions to the pan with a pinch of salt and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and chili flakes; bloom for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stirring it in the oil to caramelize. Deglaze the pan with Everclear. Scrape the bottom of the skillet as the alcohol reduces to half (about 2-3 minutes).
3. Add the tomatoes to the skillet. Use water to loosen the remaining tomato juice in the can, then add to the skillet. Simmer until the sauce thickens (20-30 minutes). Add a few cracks of black pepper to taste, then reduce the heat to low. Add the cream and stir.
4. Drain the pasta, reserving the pasta water. In a large pot or bowl, combine the pasta and sauce. Stir to combine, alternating between adding splashes of pasta water and pinches of both cheeses until the pasta is fully coated. Plate, topping with cheese, parsley and pancetta.
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