La Casella is an agriturismo, or working country farm just minutes from our farmhouse where we dine from time to time. Many of these country farms have rooms to rent as well as restaurants where they serve delicious honest food at remarkably reasonable prices. On one visit to La Casella, we enjoyed a simple plate of farro pasta tossed with cherry tomatoes and salty guanciale, and I enjoyed it so much I had to replicate this dish myself at home.
Cooks Tip: Guanciale is an un-smoked Italian bacon prepared with pig’s jowl or cheeks, and though similar in taste to pancetta, it has its own unique flavor. Check the Sources chapter to find online sources, or simply substitute pancetta in place of the guanciale if needed. I made fresh fettuccine with my farro flour, which is included in the recipe below. If short on time, feel free to buy good quality store bought dried farro pasta. Farro pasta has an earthiness to it that is fantastic mixed with many simple sauces.
Deborah Mele 2013
For The Pasta:
- 1 1/2 Cups, Farro Flour
- About 1/2 Cup, All-purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 Eggs
- Pinch of Salt
For The Sauce:
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1/4 Pound Guanciale, Diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
- 2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes, Cut In Half
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
- Grated Pecorino Cheese
- Whisk together flours and salt in a large bowl.
- Make a well at the center, and then add the eggs and olive oil and use and fork to blend, adding a few teaspoons of water if needed to bring the dough together.
- Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let sit for one hour.
- Use a pasta machine to roll and cut the pasta into fettuccine following the manufacturer's directions.
- Lightly dust the fettuccine with flour and let sit while you prepare the sauce.
- Place a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil.
- In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil, then cook the guanciale until lightly browned over medium heat, about 7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes, and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often until the tomatoes soften and begin to break down.
- Season with salt and pepper and mix in parsley.
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente, then drain, reserving a small cup of pasta water.
- Return the drained pasta to the pot along with the tomato mixture and stir well over medium heat for a couple of minutes, adding a little water if the pasta seems a little dry.
- Serve in individual bowls, topped with a heaping spoonful of grated Pecorino cheese.