Pasta is so easy to serve that it seems a shame to dress it with the same old sauce every time.
For a weekday dinner try Ada Boni's spaghetti all'amatriciana with those tomatoes you've just started harvesting.
In her cookbook "Italian Regional Cooking, " Ada Boni writes that the most famous pasta dish of her native Rome is spaghetti all'amatriciana, "the origin of which is said to be Amatrice, a little village in the Sabine country, on the border between Lazio and the Abruzzo."
The sauce, she notes, is based on guanciale, cured pork jowl, "diced and mixed with tomatoes, peppers, onions and fat salt pork (purists omit tomatoes)."
Lean bacon is substituted in the English translation of the cookbook. Some cooking sources suggest using pancetta in the place of guanciale. The sauce makes just enough to coat the pasta; this Chicago Tribune adaptation cuts back a bit on the amount of spaghetti from Boni's recipe and doubled the tomatoes, in line with her version in "Talismano."
2½ tablespoons lard or oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
5 ounces lean bacon, thinly sliced
½ cup dry white wine, optional
2 pounds ripe or canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti
¾ cup grated pecorino, or mixed Parmesan and pecorino cheese
Heat the lard or oil and saute the onion over a very low heat until soft. Add the bacon and fry it slowly for a few minutes. Moisten with white wine and continue cooking until it evaporates a little. Peel, chop and seed the tomatoes, then add them to the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook over a brisk heat for not more than 15 minutes.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a fast boil. Lower the spaghetti into the water, stir well and cook until just tender.
Drain and dress the spaghetti immediately with the hot sauce, and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Per serving: 468 calories, 14 g fat (5 g sat. fat), 22 mg chol., 67 g carb., 19 g protein, 682 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.