Who doesn’t like a good old pasta? A pasta that is made with fresh ingredients and a homemade tomato juice... Waw, it tastes divine!
It was a few weeks ago, on a Sunday when we needed to be at swimming in 45’ so we’ve had 40 min to eat something that I didn’t even start cooking. I was running so late as I’ve had some course work to finalise and I got easily carried away. Time is always a cheater as far as I’m concerned, goes by totally unnoticed.
Well, I came to the kitchen and on the way, I’ve asked my little munchkins if they prefer to have something before going or we leave the eating after the swimming lesson. Er, the answer I received was a super swift one “We want to eat now!”
They were right, what was I thinking? They're level 11 swimmers so the energy they needed in that pool was a lot more than even a little pasta plate.
Okayyyyy, so I had to ‘go on rollers’ around the kitchen, I opened the fridge and had a little glimpse and browse around.
The decision was an easy one luckily as I could see there was some fresh linguini pasta and pancetta. Initially, I thought of a carbonara but I have soon realised that I had nothing for a carbonara sauce. It had to become a tomato base sauce. It was ok, a new sauce is always welcome, something new taste-wise. Love that. ? oh, but linguini and pancetta combo.... to die for. As you probably know by now I do prefer linguini pasta by far from all pasta types. It is so unique...
I had to throw in some veggies of course, so I grabbed a handful of that baby courgettes that were most visible as well as some chestnut mushrooms.
Deciding was here the most difficult part, the rest was super easy- blinked twice or three times and the cooking was done! The delicious linguini with pancetta and chestnut mushrooms was ready in the plates, on the table and gobbled in less than 35 min. How life pushes you sometimes? 😉
I never thought when I started cooking this pasta that will go up on the blog but it did turn out so good that I couldn't bear not to share (a bit of rhyming too).
My point where I'm trying to get also is that I have an excuse for not having great pics for this recipe. Well, there was not much time so please excuse my pics.
I will replace those as soon as I will make this again but the whole thing is that you get an idea about it. I can assure you that it tastes a lot better than it looks here in my rushed pictures. Take my word. The taste I’m sure is mainly given by the linguini and pancetta of course (not to be compared with bacon) and of course the homemade tomato sauce.
The history of this homemade tomato sauce.
This summer my sexy and so lovely gardener (aka my husband) planted a few tomato plants which were so generous and produced so many tomatoes that at some point I did not know what to do with.
Yes, we were eating loads of salads almost every day, yes I was cooking with them and still had around 4-5 kg of tiny sweet and super juicy cherry tomatoes in the fridge.
Even more history for my homemade tomato juice...;-)
How I've made this delicious homemade tomato sauce or juice even. Well, one day, I took all out of the fridge (kept them in a paper bag- they store well when they are ripe to perfection), washed and chopped about ¼ of them.
I put one somewhat larger pot on medium heat and added the chopped tomatoes in first followed by the whole ones. I've covered them up with a lid and cooked for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile I prepared some jars, sterilised them in the oven ready for getting filled up with this superb tomato juice.
After boiling the tomatoes for about 30 min, I've added 1 tablespoon Himalayan pink salt, some Sicilian dry basil (which I bought in Italy when I was there around Easter time) gave it a nice stir and boiled it for 5 more minutes. Now it's the grown-up stuff coming.
Filling up the jars is the hardest bit because they need filling pretty quickly and neatly so there is no need for washing them (if smudged - no worries at this point).
I normally use a smaller ladle so while the tomato juice is still on the heat (lowest heat now) and simmers away this needs to be put in jars and the jars need to be covered with new lids immediately.
I like the traditional way my mum used to make her winter preserves...It is how she used to make all the winter preserves- she’s changed a few bits lately (using the bain-marie technique) but I didn’t.
I like to keep the traditional way for some reason. It works for me better this way and I love it. So part of the tradition is also to prepare a blanket or two in which you will put your very hot jars and keep them covered.
When you finished and the last jar went in you cover them properly even with adding an extra blanket and leave them for a day or two or even three (depending on the quantity) until they have completely cooled. If they are smudged slightly, as I was saying, don’t worry, you can wipe them clean once they have cooled. Do not attempt doing this while hot - it is not fun burning your fingers.
This is it. It's a pretty rewarding process and not difficult at all. I made it all a big story here but it could have been put all in a more simplistic way.
Here you have it folks and I feel obliged to point out that no market tomato sauce/juice compares with this.
Home-made stuff is always home-made stuff. The tangy edge to this can be taken by adding a pinch of sugar or honey when cooking with but I like it this way.
The flavours.... oh, these little homegrown cherry tomatoes can have....it’s pure heaven 😉
Enjoy the cooking and the eating folks?
Baby courgette, chestnut mushrooms and pancetta linguini
- 300 g fresh pasta
- 120 g pancetta
- 5-6 mushrooms I used chestnut
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1 Pinch black pepper
- 100 g courgette / zucchini baby
- 300 ml tomato juice homemade*
- 30 g Parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1 Thai chili chopped
- Basil to garnish
- 1 pinch salt
- Place a pot with sufficient water to cook the pasta over heat and cook the pasta for 2 min. It will cook for another minute or two at the end in a sauce so bear this in mind. I can't eat a pasta that's been overly cooked. It has to be al dente.
- Meanwhile let’s make the sauce by place a pan over a medium heat and when hot add the pancetta, cook for 1 min and throw in the crushed and finely chopped garlic and the mushrooms all chopped nicely. Cook for another minute or two stirring a couple of times.
- Add the chopped baby courgettes and some freshly ground black pepper and the chilli if you choose to use. I don't add salt as pancetta is normally pretty salty. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the tomato juice and let it simmer and reduce for 4-5 minutes. Because my tomato juice is fairly runny I put the pasta to cook it straight into this pasta sauce and the pasta cooks and soaks in all those juices. If you use a thicker version of a tomato sauce you will not need to do this. Just add the pasta that’s been boiled/cooked separately and toss in for a minute .