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Style Magazine

Dinner Date

Sep 01, 2011 04:34AM ● By Wendy Sipple

The Glorious Pasta of Italy by Domenica Marchetti
(Chronicle Books, 2011, $30)

  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. thickly sliced pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 lbs. cherry tomatoes, slow roasted (see Cook’s Note) and then coarsely chopped, with some of their juices
  • 1 lb. dried bucatini or spaghetti
  • 8 oz. arugula/rocket leaves, tough stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Pecorino Romano cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously. While the water is heating, warm the olive oil in a large frying pan placed over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pancetta begins to render its fat and turn somewhat crispy. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are heated through. Turn off the heat and cover the sauce to keep it warm.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir to separate the noodles, and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until al dente. Drain the cooked pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water.

Transfer the pasta to the frying pan and gently toss the pasta and sauce to combine thoroughly, adding a splash or two of the cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Add the arugula/rocket by the handful and continue to toss for a minute or so, or until the arugula is just wilted. Transfer the dressed pasta to shallow individual bowls and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Cook’s Note: To make slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, heat the oven to 275 degrees. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and arrange them in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet/tray. Drizzle 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil over the tomatoes, then scatter 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, over the tomatoes. Season with kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 2 to 3 hours, or until the tomatoes have collapsed and shriveled a little but are still moist. Let cool and use immediately, or store in a tightly lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before using.


Every three to four weeks at Corti Brothers, we taste an average of 100-plus bottles of wine. We do this to keep pace with the samples submitted to us for consideration. One of my personal favorite red wines is a good West Coast Pinot Noir; and we taste lots of them. I guess I’m a pretty hardcore critic of this regal variety, because I tend to be somewhat disappointed with eight out of 10 that we taste. Then, once in a while...along comes a jewel!

Harrington 2009 Wiley Vineyard Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley is a true jewel! Owner/Winemaker Bryan Harrington told us that this particular harvest yielded the best looking tight clusters of Pinot Noir he’d ever seen. I found this wine completely delightful, from the first to the last drop. I gauged it during each course of my meal and even after dessert. It shows a wonderful perfumed scent of strawberries, which follows through with notes of fine cherry and dark red berries. Medium in weight, this wine is supple, clean and elegant. At 14.1 percent alcohol, it is very balanced and highly drinkable. This is a Pinot Noir that sets a benchmark for me and is well worth the reasonable price.

— Rick Mindermann
Rick is Store Director of Corti Brothers in Sacramento, personal assistant to Darrell Corti, and Culinary Blogger for Corti TV: