A smokey, sweet and sour pasta recipe
This is one of my favourite pasta dishes. I’ve taken inspiration from the Italian Amatriciana sauce, a bacon and tomato sauce originating from the town of Amatricia two hours from Rome, and Caponata, a sweet and sour aubergine side dish from Sicily.
As I don’t live in Italy, I had to substitute guanciale (pork jowl) for smoked pancetta, based on what is available at my local supermarket. I also leave out some of the ingredients you’ll find in the classic recipes to help make this dish quick, easy and affordable.
Instead of using chillies, which by all means add if you like it hot, I use Spanish smoked paprika, which has a bit of heat as well as a smokey taste. Although my fiancé adds this to nearly everything, it works particularly well here.
Preparation: 15-20 minutes ; Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 large aubergine
- 65g smoked pancetta cubes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 an onion, diced
- Fusilli pasta for two (200g)
- Grated parmesan
- Seasoning: salt, pepper, Spanish smoked paprika, dried oregano and basil, sugar, balsamic vinegar
- Prepare the aubergine by dicing into 2cm cubes and placing in a colander with salt. After 15-20 minutes, rinse and pat dry.
- Heat a pan with olive oil (I use extra virgin) and fry on high for 5-10 minutes until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add another splash of olive oil into your pan and add the onions, fry for 10 minutes on a medium heat until the onions begin to caramelise.
- Add the smoked pancetta cubes and fry for 3-5 minutes until browned.
- Just before ready, add a sprinkle of your favourite herbs, I used about a teaspoon each of dried oregano and basil.
- Turn down the heat to medium-low, and add your aubergines back into the pan, as well as the can of chopped tomatoes.
- Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and stir.
- After 5-10 minutes, pop on the lid and start cooking your pasta.
- When the pasta is ready, drain quickly and add to the sauce, including some of the starchy pasta water.
- Serve on a plate or in a bowl and top with a twist of salt and pepper, parmesan, and a sprinkling of Spanish smoked paprika – it makes all the difference!