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Pasta Diane (Pasta with Pancetta, Mozzarella and Basil)

A super tasty and super quick & easy homemade Italian recipe with delicious Pancetta, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can (28 oz) can whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb diced Pancetta or Bacon cut into 1/4” pieces
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 lb dry pasta (tube pasta works best; Rigatoni or Penne)
  • 1 lb fresh whole milk mozzarella or Buffalo-milk mozzarella diced into 3/4 inch cubes.
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves chiffonade (cut into 1/8 inch strips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt for pasta water

Instructions
 

  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
  • Heat your serving bowls in a 250 degree oven. It's important to start this early so they’re nice and warm, the warmed bowls are an important part of the dish coming together.
  • Drain tomatoes, reserving juice. (use a strainer set over a bowl to catch the juice.) Break up the tomatoes a bit with a fork or your hands into large chunks, they will break down more as they cook.
  • Add pasta to water, cook until just al dente (8-9 minutes). It will finish cooking in the sauce.
  • While pasta cooks, in a non-reactive pan, sauté Pancetta (or bacon) over medium heat in 1 Tbsp of the olive oil until crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel and leave drippings in pan. There should be about 2 Tbsp of fat in the pan, if not, add more olive oil.
  • Raise pan to medium. With your tomatoes ready, add 3 minced garlic cloves to the pan. In about 30 seconds, or whenever you first begin to smell garlic, add tomatoes and about ½ their juice, stir, raise heat to medium-high to bring tomatoes to boil.
  • Cook the tomatoes over medium-high while the pasta cooks, break up any large chunks with the back of your spoon. Stir regularly. Keep an eye on the level of liquid, add more juice one tablespoon at a time if it starts to look dry. You want the tomato mixture to be moist and just a little loose.
  • Drain the pasta, then add to pan with the tomatoes. Toss well and place back over medium heat. The pasta will absorb some of the liquid from the sauce at this point, so be ready to add more tomato juice (if needed).
  • Get your warmed serving bowls ready, get your guests seated at the table.
  • Add the bacon, basil, mozzarella, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to the sauce; toss or gently and cook for about 20 seconds over medium heat to distribute everything until you see the mozzarella cubes just begin to melt. DO NOT leave on the heat too long, or the mozzarella will form into a large rubbery ball. The mozzarella will continue to gently melt in the warmed serving bowls as your guests are eating.
  • Spoon the pasta into your warmed bowls and serve.
  • Grate on some grated Parmigiano Reggiano at the table, the pasta should be plenty salty from the cooking water and the bacon.

Notes

For the basil chiffonade, grab about 6-7 leaves at a time and stack them one on top of the other. Roll them up like you were rolling up a cigar, place down on your board, and slice across your little cigar into 1/8” strips.
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