• 500g spaghetti
• 400g guanciale, pancetta or bacon
• 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
• 4 ripe tomatoes
• 1 onion
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1/2 bunch of fresh basil
• 2 garlic cloves
• Grated pecorino
• 100g fresh ricotta (optional)
• 1 cup reserved pasta water
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil.
2. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick pan (one that can be covered securely with a lid), heat the oil over medium high heat.
3. Add onion, garlic, chilli flakes and basil stalks with a pinch of salt to prevent burning and sautee until softened but not browned.
4. Add the bacon (or guanciale or pancetta if using) to the pan and sautee until the meat softens and just takes on the slightest hint of colour. You do not want dry or crispy bacon pieces.
5. Add the tomatoes and combine with the sauteed onions then add the wine. Stir well then reduce the heat to medium, clamp on the lid and allow to simmer for 5 – 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened and starting to form a pulpy sauce. Check occasionally during simmering and help the tomatoes along by pressing them down with your spoon.
6. While the sauce is simmering, cook your spaghetti in the pot of salted water until al dente.
7. Once the pasta is cooked and the sauce has come together, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the pasta water to the tomatoes and stir for about a minute or until the starchy water has thickened the sauce. Use tongs to lift the spaghetti from the water and add it straight to the sauce.
8. Sprinkle over a small handful of grated pecorino and the torn basil leaves and toss the pasta through the sauce to coat evenly.
9. Add a little extra pasta water if needed, and taste to see if you want a little extra cheese.
10. Serve topped with fresh ricotta and more basil, dried chilli flakes and pecorino.