Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Pancetta

You know you've crossed over to the other side and become a total foodie when you spend an hour doing yoga (one of your most favourite things in life) right next to your friend and fellow yogi/foodie (or is that foodie/yogi) Carole, and while you're supposed to be focused on your breathing, postures and general "zoning out," instead you both spend the entire time thinking about your next meal and blog. Carole's last words to me before our practice started were about the amazing meal she'd eaten the night before and then the first words out of her mouth as we sleepily came out of savasana 60 minutes later were about the lemon bars she planned to make that afternoon. I was just lucky she didn't whisper to me in downward dog or we would have been booted from class. Silence is golden in yoga.

And I had to confess that I'd similarly been making a mental shopping list of ingredients for this pasta dish as we held warrior pose, reviewing the steps of the recipe as we laid in pigeon, and figuring out timing as we were tilted over in triangle. Clearly, food has become the focus for both of us. There are worse vices.

I found this family-friendly recipe on The Italian Dish blog and Elaine, the Italian blog goddess, said it had become her absolute favourite pasta dish and she was making it every week. Who needs higher praise than that from an Italian pasta expert? Since all my family members loved the ingredients... roasted tomatoes, pancetta, basil, pasta... I figured we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The fact that crushing the stuffed roasted tomato releases its sauce onto the spaghetti sounded light and delicious and totally enticing. Not a quick weeknight dinner since you need to allow an hour for the tomatoes to roast in the oven, but definitely worth the wait. All my kids loved it and even took it cold to school for lunch the next day.

Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Pancetta
Serves 4 (or 2 really hungry eaters)

3 ounces diced pancetta
(or bacon if you can't find pancetta)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pasta
2 anchovy fillets
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
4 tomatoes, tops sliced off, seeds scooped out
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
small handful fresh thyme, parsley or basil leaves, chopped
salt & pepper
8 ounces spaghetti

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fry the pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp around the edges and then remove from the skillet and set aside on a plate. Leave a bit of the fat in the skillet and add the anchovies. Use a wooden spoon to mash the anchovies until they dissolve. Then add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until they are golden. Keep the cooked pancetta set aside for later.

Put the tomatoes, cut side up, in a baking dish and slip some garlic into each tomato. Season the tomatoes with plenty of salt and pepper. Mound some bread crumbs onto each tomato, getting some inside the tomatoes. Scatter herbs on top and drizzle 4 tbsp of olive oil over the tomatoes.

Roast the tomatoes in the oven until they have browned a bit and the interior is supple but the tomatoes have not collapsed, about one hour.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain. Return the pasta to the pot and remove the tomatoes from the baking dish and set aside. Stir the oily tomato juices and any bits of bread crumbs from the bottom of the tomato roasting dish into the pasta. Add a little olive oil and the reserved pasta water and toss. Pour the pasta into a serving bowl, place the tomatoes on top, sprinkle the pancetta over all and serve.

Rest of the week
Feb 22 Roast beef paninis with salad
Feb 23 Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Pancetta
Feb 24 Ribs, broccoli and mashed potatoes


  1. alright, I am making this and they are both going to eat it and they are going to love it. Or else. Because I want to eat this!

  2. Oh am I ever hungry right now... This looks seriously amazing! I love all things pasta, and so do my boys! Yum...

  3. Seriously this post makes me laugh. That's so me during yoga. And no matter how many times I try to seduce my mind into quietness, I always flee back to food. I love this recipe because of it's simplicity. You can't beat roasting tomatoes.

    Hope you have a great weekend!


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