Back in high school, I was pretty competitive when it came to running cross-country. As captain, my coach taught me that despite mental preparedness, the success of our team was dependent on two factors: training hard individually and fueling our bodies with the proper nutrition.
The night before a race, "the proper nutrition" meant sitting down with the team to share huge bowls of steaming pasta and platters of melt in your mouth gooey garlic bread. It was carb heaven.
That was years ago, but I still find myself craving pasta as the cross country season sets in each Fall. Fortunately, recipes like this one for tagliatelle with pancetta, basil and mozzarella is enough to satiate even the most longstanding carb craving.
Ingredients: (Serves 4-5)
- Tagliatelle (or any other pasta)
- Olive oil- 1 tbsp.
- Basil, sliced- a bunch
- Garlic, minced- 2 cloves
- Pancetta, cubed (or any other unsmoked bacon, cubed not sliced)- 1/2 cup
- Red Chilli flakes (optional)- a little pinch
- Italian Passata, smooth, thick sieved tomatoes (feel free to use crushed tomatoes)-2 cups
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh Mozzarella ball
- Parmesan cheese for serving
Set a large pot filled with water and bring it to a boil. When it boils put a good pinch of salt and pasta, cook 1 minute less than your package suggests, it can vary between 7-10 minutes. Remember when you combine it with sauce it will continue cooking.
While you pasta is cooking, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook your pancetta until there is virtually no visible fat, add garlic and a pinch of chili flakes if using and cook for 1 minute, then add half of your basil and tomatoes, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer until pasta is cooked.
When your pasta is cooked al dente, drain it while reserving a cup of water you cooked your pasta in. Put your pasta into the sauce along with the remaining basil leaves. I don’t slice basil leaves, I just tear them as I like bigger pieces.
Then simply tear your fresh mozzarella ball with your hands directly into the pan with pasta.
Gently stir fresh mozzarella into your pasta over low heat, add a splash of reserved water if your sauce is getting a bit dry. Take off the heat as soon as mozzarella melts and turns stringy, it will only take a couple of minutes. Serve immediately topped with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan.
Recipe courtesy of: Vikalinka