I could eat pasta every day of the week. This is one of my favourites. It will feed four people and takes about half an hour to prepare and cook. I serve it with spaghetti, but have eaten it in Italy with buccatini, those long hollow strands that trap the sauce inside as well as on the outside.
A tablespoon or two of olive oil
1 or two sliced onions - I often use red ones
150g pancetta, or you could use diced Parma ham offcuts
1 red chilli, deseaded and chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin chopped tomatoes, including the juice
freshly grated parmesan to serve
Fill a large pan with water, a couple of litres or more is fine and leave it to come to the boil. I have a large pot with a strainer that sits inside it, which is perfect for draining the cooked pasta.
Whilst the water is heating, heat up the oil in a medium sized saucepan, and add the onion. Cook for a couple of minutes until soft.
Add the pancetta and stir for two or three minutes until it starts to colour.
Add the chopped chilli and stir for another minute or two.
Stir in the tomato puree followed by the tinned tomatoes.
Turn the heat down low and leave to cook, stirring from time to time.
Once the water has come to a boil, salt it generously, add the spaghetti and push down into the water. It will take anything up to 12 minutes to cook until it is al dente, so check regularly as you don't want a soggy mush.
When the pasta is cooked, remove from the heat and strain over a colander, or just lift the strainer out from the pan if you have a strainer that sits in a saucepan.
Spoon the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle generously with freshly grated parmesan cheese.