Pasta With Burst Cherry Tomatoes
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: If you’d like to leave out the pancetta, toss 1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese in the pasta along with the butter.
• Fine sea salt and black pepper, as needed
• 1 lb. rotini pasta
• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
• 6 oz. pancetta, preferably thick cut, diced
• 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
• Pinch red pepper flakes
• 1 quart cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
• 3 tbsp. butter
• Fresh ricotta cheese, for serving, optional
• 3 c. whole mint leaves, torn
• 4 green onions, thinly sliced
• Flaky sea salt, to finish
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until 1 minute short of al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for 15 seconds, then add the oil and heat until it thins out and easily coats the pan when swirled. Add pancetta and cook until it starts to render its fat, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and a large pinch of salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until they burst, turn golden at the edges and shrivel up slightly, about 5 to 8 minutes.