It’s Tasty Tidbits Tuesday and I’ve got a great summer pasta dish for you! I’m planning on making it the next time we are at the cottage. If you are a regular reader you probably know that I am enamored with the fresh produce from the Garden State AND I happen to be growing some mint in my backyard! A while ago I posted a pasta dish that had mint in it and I have to tell you it was with some trepidation that I made that dish. I’m Italian and have been eating Italian food for a very, very long time and I had never come across any pasta dish with mint in it. Sorry it took me so long because I’ve made that dish at least twice more since posting it. That recipe can be found in a previous blog; https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/wednesday-is-prince-spaghetti-day/
So now along comes another pasta recipe with mint as one of the main ingredients and I think it’s going to great. I normally don’t feature recipes that I haven’t made, however, this one comes from the New York Times and I know it wouldn’t have been printed if it hadn’t been tested.
Sea salt and ground pepper
1 # fusilli pasta
1 TBS olive oil plus drizzling
6 oz. pancetta, diced
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 quart of cherry tomatoes halved
3 TBS butter
3 cups of whole mint leaves, torn
4 scallions thinly sliced
Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook pasta to 1 minute shy of al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile heat a large skillet or braising pan over med-high heat for 15 seconds, then add oil and heat till it thins out, coats the pan when swirled. Add pancetta, cook till fat renders – 2 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and a large pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook 2 minutes till fragrant. Add tomatoes cook til they burst, have golden edges and begin to shrivel – about 5 – 8 minutes.
Add the pasta to the skillet and toss with the tomato-pancetta mixture; if the mixture looks dry, add a little pasta water a few tablespoons at a time. Cook over high heat while pasta finishes cooking. Add butter and toss until it melts and coats everything.
Divide pasta into warmed bowls, garnish with dollops of ricotta and top with a generous mound of mint and scallions. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and more pepper before serving.
NOTES: You can use grape, pear or other diminutive tomatoes and mixing red, yellow and orange tomatoes will make your dish pretty. Do not add the ricotta to the sauce, you want to keep it distinct so you can revel in the contrast of cool and creamy against hot, spicy and salty. If you can find red scallions, use them.