We were lucky enough to be gifted this holiday season with a wonderful pasta called Pici (Thanks Robert & Mary!). This is similar to a thick spaghetti or Bucatini, but it includes the germ of the wheat – making it a big mouthful of nutty pasta-y goodness. I had so much fun trying to decide how to top the Pici. I wanted something that would be hearty enough to stand up to it, without overwhelming it. This pasta was inspired by a lunchtime BLT Sandwich. In this case, the Pancetta takes the place of the Bacon, Arugula Pesto takes the place of the Lettuce. And the tomato is roasted. The yummy, nutty pasta replaces a great whole grain bread. It’s super simple to make and delicious with Barbera! Enjoy.
Serve with Morovino 2013 Barbera
4 Roma Tomatoes halved lengthwise
1/2 lb Pancetta (a slab, not sliced)
4 C. Arugula (4 big handfuls)
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley (mostly leaves, not stems)
4 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus 1 t for drizzling
2 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 t. salt
9 ounces of Pici (or other hearty pasta)
1/4 c. shredded or shaved Asiago
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with sides (sometimes called a jelly roll pan) with parchment paper. Cut the slab of pancetta into 1/2″ish cubes. Scatter the pancetta cubes on the jelly roll pan. Place the tomato halves, cut side up, amongst the pancetta on the pan. Put into the oven for 30-35 minutes – stirring every 10 minutes or so to flip the pancetta cubes and the tomato pieces so they brown evenly. Cook the Pici (or pasta according to package directions).
In the bowl of your food processor, add the arugula, parsley, garlic, salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Pulse until smooth.
Drain the pasta and drizzle with th 1 t of olive oil to prevent sticking. Plate a nest of the pasta. Top with the Arugula Pesto. Add the roasted tomato and pancetta, then top with the shaved Asiago. Salty, tangy, nutty, hearty – perfect winter comfort pasta!