Some nights I crave (in the biggest possible way) something like this! It has to be pasta, and that pasta has to be weighed down with something rich and luscious. There is no better combination of flavors and textures then a meaty pasta and sauce, (and of course a glass of good wine completes the picture of what my craving looks like!).
I discovered a new dry pasta that I have become addicted to, and look for ways and excuses to cook it as much as possible. When I was shopping in the pasta section of the infamous Eataly (read more on this wonderful Italian market HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE!) in NYC the for the very first time, I had never seen so many varieties of pasta since being in Italy. I choose a few different brands to try out and my very favorite was the Rigorosa brand. It is dense and chewy in the best possible way.
I now stock up on it every time I visit, but since I eat pasta more than I go to NYC, I was very happy (and surprised) to discover that my mediocre supermarket stocked another brand that I also bought in Eataly. It is made by Garofalo and my favorite is their calamarata pasta, (or calamari pasta – aptly named!). It sops up sauce like no other and has a great toothsome bite. There is nothing remotely wimpy about this pasta and I would feel confident serving it to a table of hungry giants.
It handled this ragu marvelously, and if you can scour out a good thick-ringed brand of pasta like this, you should try the recipe too. It is served with a ragu, and this one, as with most of the ones I end up making, was determined but what I had to go with my big can of tomato puree (and you will see, I didn’t have much!). It was simple, but bursting with flavor and there wasn’t a scrap of leftovers!
You will need:
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 lb streaky bacon – cut into pieces (I use a scissors)
4 tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine (or red is just as good if you do not have white on hand)
1 cup grated or finely chopped carrots
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup whole milk
1lb good quality big tubular pasta like Rigatoni or calamarata. A big shell type or fusilli would be great too.
1 – Put the oil in a big saute pan (big enough to hold the complete dish) and on a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2 – Add the chopped bacon and turn heat up to high/medium. Cook until bacon starts to get crispy (could take up to 15 minutes), stirring frequently.
*Put water on for pasta and when it boils, cook according to instructions. When you drain the water, reserve about 1 cup in case you need it for later in the finished dish, and do not rinse the pasta under cold water. You will be trying to time the pasta to be cooked at the same time as your sauce*
3 – Add the butter, carrots and tomato paste and cook for about 7 minutes. Add the wine and cook until half of the wine evaporates.
4 – Add the tomato puree and stir. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover with lid and cook for about a 1/2 hour.
5 – Add the milk and continue to cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6 – Taste sauce and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and a little cayenne pepper flakes if you would like. Add the cooked pasta and stir gently. Add some hot pasta water if you desire a “looser” sauce.
I served this with a good grating of Parmigiano Reggiano but you can eat it alone or with whatever you like!