A Poll and a Pasta!

Today, I’m sharing two tasty things with you!

First, a poll!

Check out the awesome ideas below - chosen randomly from the suggestions you submitted as part of Dinner Democracy - and vote for your favouriteVoting closes Saturday, May 7th at midnight. 

Thanks to everyone who submitted an idea - they were tons of fun to read and, as always, I’ll do my best to get to all of them soon!

Now on to number two: a recipe! 

Requested by lovely friends I made while studying in Cortona, Italy, this traditional Tuscan pasta dish, fumo, is a doozy. Made with delicious things like rosemary, garlic, tomatoes and heavy cream, it’s sure to put a spring in your step. Er, figuratively speaking, of course.  

fumo (17 of 18).jpg
Now, I’ve got to admit to something kind of silly. See, fumo - Italian for “smoke” - gets its name from the addition of a critical ingredient: Italian-style bacon. Given that my vegetarianism spans pre-Italy times to present day, I’ve never actually tried the dish. 

But in the name of friendship and authenticity, I’m passing along the recipe - meat included - anyway. And while I can’t vouch for the meaty version, the recipe I’m sharing comes from Cortona itself (!) so I’m guessing it’s legit!  

Now, I can vouch for the meat-free version, having made it twice (so long, skinny jeans): think of a rich, rosemary-and-garlic-infused tomato cream sauce that begs to be ladled over a substantial pasta and eaten with gusto, and you’ve got the idea!
 fumo (2 of 18).jpg 
Whether you go all in or skip the bacon, I hope you find the results to be molto bene

Happy cooking, and I’ll see you on Tuesday when I’ll reveal the recipe for the dish you guys most want to see!

Pasta con Fumo
Adapted from the recipe used at Trattoria Etrusca in Cortona (!), which was recorded and very kindly shared with me by Janet. Thanks too to my mom for patiently painting word pictures over the phone to me as I tried to find the perfect pasta substitute for pici.
Serves 4-6 

1 tbsp olive oil
1 1.5-inch sprig of rosemary, cut into three equal pieces
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
100 grams pancetta or smoked bacon, cut into a small dice
2 oz vodka (1 generous shot)
1 small can of tomato paste (~6 oz or 3/4 cup)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup water
2.4 cups (600 ml) panna***
1 lb of pasta (like pici, bucatini, or penne)
Salt to taste


1. Place olive oil, 1 piece of rosemary, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden. Remove garlic and rosemary**, and add pancetta/bacon*** and remaining rosemary. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until pancetta is golden-brown. Remove rosemary. 


2. Add vodka and cook until the smell of alcohol is gone (don’t take a strong whiff right away - it’s potent!), then stir in tomato paste and water. Bring to a low simmer.  


3. Stir in red pepper flakes and panna (or equivalent) and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until sauce is thick and deep orange in colour. While sauce is simmering, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water (time the pasta to finish around the same time as your sauce). Once sauce has finished simmering, taste and adjust with salt as necessary.**** Toss together drained pasta and sauce and serve! 


*Panna is a thick, Italian-style cream. If you can’t find it or don’t want to shell out for it, use either an equivalent amount of heavy cream, or a combination of 450 ml of whipping cream and 150 g (3/5 of a standard package) of plain cream cheese instead. I went for the latter and it was delightful! Letting the cream cheese warm up a bit and cutting it into smallish pieces will help it to melt into the sauce better. 
**If you’re making this vegetarian, I’d recommend sauteeing all of the garlic and rosemary together until golden, and leaving them in the pan as you simmer the cream, etc. together to give the sauce more oomph. Next time, I’ll also add a handful of diced sundried tomatoes at this stage to provide the sauce with a bit of the salty richness you’d otherwise get from pancetta.
***Again, I skipped the pancetta, so there aren’t any photos of it. Silly, but there we are!
****I used roughly 1/2 tsp of salt in the vegetarian version. If you’re using the pancetta, which will add saltiness on its own, you’ll likely need considerably less. 

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