Though we skip it, this dish usually begins by dicing three slices of bacon and browning the pieces before adding the sauce and chili.
1. Set a large pot of water on to boil and season with a few big pinches of salt.
2. Boil the penne for 2 minutes less than the package tells you to.
3. Meanwhile, put 2 cups of basic tomato sauce* with the pieces of chili in a large frying pan over low heat to infuse the chili into the sauce.
4. Reserving about a teacup of boiling water from your pasta pot, drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan with the tomato sauce.
5. Stir the pasta and sauce together with the olive oil and let it cook on low heat for 2 minutes, adding a bit of the reserved pasta water if necessary. You want the pasta to be just coated by the sauce, not swimming in it.
6. Turn off the heat, remove the pieces of chili, stir in the Pecorino, and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Giancarlo Giametti.
*For our simple homemade, never-fail tomato sauce that’s always in our fridge: In a large saucepan, slowly cook 6 cloves of thinly sliced garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil for 5 minutes over low heat. Add 2 large, fresh basil leaves and stir for a minute. Add 2 28-ounce cans of whole, peeled tomatoes along with their juice and 2 more whole basil leaves. Bring the sauce to a boil, turn down the heat, season with salt and pepper, and let it bubble away on low heat for 45 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.
Originally featured in Giancarlo Giammetti