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21 Feb 2009

Tonight's Dinner – Penne rigate with Pork Belly in Spicy Tomato sauce

Here we go! Just finished dinner :) Tonight I had a quintessential Sicilian pasta!

How to proceed if you wish to try this at home? Nothing more simple.
Have a nice piece of pork belly in your fridge (my piece had bones and weighted roughly 300g), cut it in thick slices (removing first the bones if there are any, but do not throw them away!!). Take away the skin from the meat and put it with the bones in a hot pan to roast for a while.
While skin and bones are browning, cut the meat in chunks and add them to the pan. Sear well the meat and add some olive oil. Add then 1/2 teaspoon of red chilli flakes (depends how spicy you want your sauce) and stir. Skin and chop a few garlic cloves (more or less 1 per person) and add to the meat. Be careful not to burn the garlic, the oil in pan is fairly hot, so stir the mixture carefully.
After a few minutes add some tomato purée (250ml for 2 people) and the same amount of water. Lower the heat, cover and let reduce. In the meantime boil some salted water for the pasta (I always taste my water to judge how much salt I need). When ready, cook the penne.

Keep an eye to the sauce, shake gently the pan every now and then. After roughly 10-15min the sauce should be ready, add salt to taste and check the spiciness (I added a bit of fresh red indian chilie to mine).
Drain the pasta, toss it in the pan with the sauce over the fire (if you don't like so much greasiness in your sauce, just carefully eliminate it from the top of the sauce, using a spoon, before adding the penne). Spoon then the whole in the plates sprinkling on top some grated ricotta salata cheese and few leaves of basil coarsely chopped using your finger and.... enjoy!!!

As you approach your dish, the aroma of basil hits your nose, carried by the raising steam. You spot a nice piece of meat, you grab it with the fork with your mouth watering. You taste it... Soft, spicy, sourish meat. The taste coat your mouth, you want more! Now you go heavy with your fork ;) grab a few penne and some meat. Miam! That's eating!! :D

I think that this is MY comfort food; warm, spicy, aromatic with the tasty greasiness coming from the pork belly. The Penne is a kind of pasta with a nice bite, I love them! They give you something to feel under your teeth. Thanks too the the effect of the capsaicin, that causes the spiciness of chillies; you are left also with a rise of mood (it's not magic, they are just the endorphins your body releases to counteract the pain sensation caused by the spiciness). :D
What to wish more??

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