Simple spaghetti tends to be a go-to, weeknight dinner for most families, and if you are like me, spaghetti in the regular meal rotation starts to get
intolerable boring. Spaghetti remains on our rotation because my all people will actually eat it, and any mother knows that is a feat in itself. Years ago, an Arkansas neighbor shared Taglierini Alla Chitarra with us, and this heavenly version of spaghetti has remained a weeknight and a “good-enough-for-company” favorite.
The star of Taglierini Alla Chitarra is thinly sliced pancetta, aka Italian bacon. Pancetta is paper-thin meat in the deli section of your grocery store, sold prepackaged (vacuum-packed) or sliced fresh at the counter. If purchasing at the counter, ask the attendant to slice it as thinly as possible. Prosciutto can be substituted if Pancetta is not available. I do not recommend the prepackaged cubed version of either meat, as the taste/consistency is lacking.
Another note: Pecorino Romano from the deli may only come in portions larger than 3 oz, but you’re actually buying enough for a few meals if you freeze the unused cheese for later.
Taglierini Alla Chitarra
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
7 oz Pancetta, cut into julienne strips (can substitute Prosciutto)
28 oz. can peeled, crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (can substitute 1/8 cup dried)
Ground black pepper
3 oz. Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (can substitute regular Romano)
Fresh Parmesan cheese wedge (topping)
Pasta-Barilla Spaghetti alla Chitarra or Angel Hair
Large saucepan with top
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and Pancetta and brown for 10 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, pepper and Pecorino. Simmer, covered, over very low heat for one hour.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Serve red sauce mixture over cooked pasta and sprinkle with *grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
Freeze any leftovers you do not use.