Paccheri with Tomato Sauce, Fresh Shrimp and Crispy Pancetta
Here is a gourmet main course which is surprisingly simple to prepare. The combination of Shrimp and Pancetta may make you skeptical, but the two are magnificent together, especially if you have a super sweet tomato sauce to bind them. Try this recipe on a Spring or Summer evening with your friends or family, choose a proper wine (we recommended a Riesling), and enjoy this great delicious experience!
300 gr (10.5 oz) Paccheri dry pasta
500 gr (17 oz) fresh medium shrimp (heads off, shell on) –16-18 pieces
500 gr (17 oz) fresh cherry tomatoes
300 ml (1 ½ cup) bottled tomato ‘passata’ (a smooth, plain sauce)
Small bunch of parsley
1 garlic clove
120 gr (5.2 oz) thinly sliced pancetta (or bacon) – 10-12 slices
Mediterranean Sea Salt
Pinch of ground chili pepper
Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
Add one tablespoon of EVOO to a saucepan, then add two slices of pancetta. Sauté over medium heat, and when the pancetta turns brown, pour in the tomato ‘passata’. Add a half glass of water, cover with a lid and let cook for 15 minutes.
Clean the shrimp as follows: remove their shells (carapace), and dispose of it. After that, by using a knife, clean their backs by carving out their entrails. Set the fresh shrimp aside.
Pour 3 tbsp of EVOO in a large sauté pan, add a peeled garlic clove, 1 parsley stem and the ground chili pepper. Sauté over medium heat, and when the garlic turns golden brown, remove it from the pan, as well as the parsley stem. Add the shrimp, slightly sauté, then pour in the cut tomatoes (after 30 seconds). Toss and cook for 4 minutes, then remove the shrimp and set them aside.
Remove the pancetta from the saucepan with the tomato sauce, and pour the tomato sauce into the pan with the cherry tomatoes, stir and let it cook for 10 minutes. Season with Salt.
Heat a non stick pan on medium heat, then brown the pancetta slices until golden brown and really crispy. Lay the crispy pancetta slices on a plate with paper towel and set aside.
When the tomato sauce is cooked, strain it with a vegetable mill (colander) to get a fine and smooth consistency, then pour the sauce back into the pan.
Pour the Paccheri into the boiling water and cook ‘al dente’ (firm to the tooth, 2/3 of the indicated cooking time).
In the meantime, finely chop the parsley on a cutting board.
Remove the Paccheri from the cooking water, and add them to the pan with the tomato sauce. Add 1-2 ladles of starchy cooking water and cook over medium heat so that the pasta will absorb the sauce. Now you can add the cooked shrimp and the finely chopped parsley. Sauté for 1 minute.
Serve by laying the Paccheri on a plate, then add approximately 4 shrimp per portion, and garnish with 1-2 crispy pancetta slice (or crumbled).
This dish pairs perfectly with a glass of Riesling DOP wine.