Some of the best recipes are born of necessity and longing -- and there is a secret thrill to throwing a great new dish together with things you have on hand or using leftovers (even more thrilling...).
This dish was created on a stormy L.A. afternoon, as I watched the rain streak down the windowpane and longed for something warm and comforting, but still somewhat healthy. The Pecorino is optional – but a little sprinkling on top really adds a lot of flavor. Adding the tomatoes and spinach at the last keeps the tomatoes fresh and vibrant and the spinach slightly wilted and still bright green.
thin slices pancetta – about 9” long (rolled and sliced into ½ inch lengths)
large cloves garlic (crushed)
red onion (chopped small)
cherry tomatoes (cut in 1/4ths)
fresh baby spinach (organic)
fresh basil (about a fistful) – coarsely chopped
drizzle of your best e.v. olive oil or basil infused oil
Fill deep sauté pan with enough olive oil to cover bottom, add sausage, onion and ¼ tsp. sea salt and sauté about 4 minutes until sausage is becoming golden. Add pancetta, sauté about 4-6 minutes more until sausage is cooked and onions are translucent.
Reduce heat to low, add garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes until garlic is softened.
Meanwhile, heat pasta water with 1 tbs. salt until boiling, add 1 tbs. olive oil and cook pasta until almost al dente, about 9 minutes.
Turn heat on sausage onion mixture up to medium, add pasta, hot, directly from boiling water into sauté pan and add spinach and about ¾ ladle-full of pasta water. Add tomatoes. Toss to coat and slightly wilt spinach. Add a drizzle of good olive oil, taste and test for salt and pepper. Tomatoes should still be bright red and only slight warmed and spinach should be wilted and bright green.
Remove to plates. Top with a little fresh ground pepper and freshly grated pecorino. Enjoy!