This is my nourishing ‘go-to’ lunch of late. It only occurred to me today that for the last few Monday’s, I have made up a huge pot of this beautiful Italian inspired soup. Each batch has been unique as it is also a wonderful way to cook using the ingredients you might be craving as the weather cools as well as what you have on hand in your refrigerator drawers. It is also a perfect meatless Monday bowl of goodness and incredibly warming which is much needed today…..the thermometer in my office is still reading 4 degrees. I have on my feet the ugly ugg boots no one ever sees but me that I hide in my office (I am most grateful for said ugly ugg boots today) and I have a cardigan draped across my knees. You may call me ‘Nana Nellie’ if you please!
Melbourne is quite literally cooking this week and we have another day of 44oC forecast for today.
I love my salads on days like these, like this beautiful chicken salad or this zingy soba noodle salad but I am more than aware that my kids don’t always crave what I crave and sometimes they just want a big bowl of pasta after a days swimming and trying to keep cool. This pasta amatriciana recipe is a family favourite and it doesn’t require turning the oven on and making the house any hotter than it needs to be in 44oC heat. Yesterday at Relish Mama, I had the privilege of teaching 30 children throughout the day the joys of cooking with summers bounty. We had such a fun day together and this was one of the recipes I shared and that we all cooked together in class. When I returned home in the evening to my own beautiful family, I quickly whipped up this same dish for them, served it on a big platter and enjoyed it together with the slight cool breeze and a great (but long! ) game of Cleudo.
Serves 4 (but happily serves us with 2 adults and 4 children this particular night so adjust pasta quantities to your needs)
50ml olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
150g of pancetta or bacon, cut into small strips
½ cup of dry white wine
5 medium roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or use 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes when out of season)
1 red chilli or use a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes
A very small pinch of cayenne pepper
Parmesam cheese or pecorino cheese, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion over a gentle heat until soft. Add the pancetta or bacon and fry slowly for a few minutes. Moisten with wine and continue cooking until it evaporates a little.
Add the tomatoes to the pan with the chilli. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne and cook over a brisk heat for 15 minutes. Remove the chilli.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Lower the pasta into the water, stir well and cook for 10–12 minutes or until al dente. Drain and toss the pasta with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle grated parmesan and pecorino on top.