What delights me most about Italian cooking, and what still excites my interest, even though I have been practicing it for a lifetime, is its infinite resourcefulness, its amazing adaptability. “Muoio di fame—I am starved,” declared my dear
To cook something and not be able to serve it is crushing, but what I find even more discouraging is to watch my husband eat my food dutifully but unenthusiastically. I looked around to see what I had: There was pancetta in the refrigerator, sage in a window box, and rosemary growing on the terrace. In a basket on one of the counters I always keep onions. I had no fresh tomatoes on hand, but I had canned ones in the cabinet. I chopped the onion and the pancetta; sautéed the onion briefly in olive oil; added some sage and rosemary, then the pancetta, and then the tomatoes. I put on water for the pasta, when it came to a boil I dropped in the pasta, and by the time the pasta was cooked, the sauce was done, and for that day at least, my husband staved off starvation.
Admittedly, it went so fast because I was making only enough sauce for two and using canned tomatoes. When I tried it for six on a subsequent occasion, with fresh tomatoes, it took me 15 minutes longer.
Like all sauces using only olive oil as the cooking medium, this one calls for boxed dry pasta. Spaghettini—thin spaghetti—would be the ideal shape to choose, but bucatini or perciatelli—thick, hollow spaghetti—will also work well. Nor would you be doing badly if you chose a short tubular shape such as penne or maccheroncini
© 1997 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.