Typically the vegetables used in this recipe, carrot, onion, celery and garlic—lots of garlic were sautéed first in olive oil to soften then after cooking for about 20 minutes in the tomato sauce were removed and blended til smooth. Ive tried a new technique which keeps all the flavor and adds a bit of texture to an otherwise smooth sauce.
Ingredients and tools needed for this are:
Heavy bottom stockpot or dutch oven Plus small saucepan to precook noodles
Pancetta or Bacon 3-4 slices
Garlic 3-4 cloves
Celery 2-3 ribs
Cremini Mushrooms (optional)
Tomato puree 15 oz can
Can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 1 15 oz can
Oregano 1 tsp
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil to drizzle over completed dish
Parmesan Cheese (not from a green can)
Ditalini pasta 1 cup
In a mini chop add, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped Celery ribs, 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic and 3-4 cremini mushrooms chopped. Puree and set aside.
Dice pancetta or 3-4 slices of bacon and place into hot stockpot
Render the fat and cook until crisp then add the pureed vegetables to the pot stirring to cook about 5 minutes. To this mixture, add I 15 oz can pureed tomatoes, unsalted preferred so that you can adjust your seasoning as needed. The pancetta or bacon may have enough salt already.
Add I 15 oz can chickpeas with the liquid to the tomato mixture, stir and let simmer for about 15 minutes to soften the chickpeas.
Meanwhile heat a salted pot of water to cook the pasta.
Season with dried oregano and a few grinds of pepper. If the mixture seems too thick, add 1 can full of water; once the pasta is added, the mixture will thicken a bit more so better to be on the more liquid side than thicker. Rustic Italian cooking is all about look, feel, taste and adjustments. No fussy French stuff here.
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and add to the tomato mixture to simmer 5 minutes to absorb all the lovely flavors. Remember to taste and adjust salt, pepper as needed. If you want a little kick of spice, feel free to add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Serve with a shaving of parmesan cheese, diced Italian parsley, squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil.