March 24

Pancetta Pasta Sauce

Mom’s always been a big fan of Ragu meat sauce. Not gonna lie. I loved it growing up. I still do! I like simple sauces that taste good. But I can’t afford Ragu. Or rather, I can, I’d just rather not buy it. When we moved into the apartment in 2009, The Fellow’s™ mom practically emptied her kitchen to help stock our new one. I was blown away at the generosity, and a little hesitant to try the Hunt’s brand pasta sauce. It finally boiled down to me being unemployed = me not able to buy $3 pasta sauce. I caved in and tried what she had given us. Honestly? I started thinking it tasted better than Ragu. I used it all the time. I stocked up when it was $1 a can, and it usually stretched to two meals. Totally rad!

However, I got a random bug up my butt while visiting my local Central Market to try something new. But $6 for a tiny can of sauce that would barely feed the both of us? No thanks! I couldn’t bother trying the good stuff. Not for that price. Instead, I splurged (a little) and picked up some diced pancetta [NO auto correct – pancetta is not the same thing as cetacean] tomato sauce, and some other ingredients, and set out to make a good pasta sauce.

My last minute addition of feta to the red concoction may have muted some of the other flavors, seeing as how it went from being a spicy sweet to a spicy salty. It wasn’t bad, but I’d highly recommend laying off the feta, if not somewhat, then entirely. Or sprinkling some on after the meal has finished cooking, versus the stewing it did with all the other ingredients.

I’m sad I didn’t make more to store away for a later use, but in hindsight, my testing could have yielded grossness and then where would I have been? At least there’s leftover cetacean pancetta in the freezer.

Also, quinoa pasta ROCKS MY BALLS. Y’know, if I had ’em.

Pancetta Pasta Sauce


1 ounce pancetta
1/2 cup onions, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
20 ounces tomato sauce
red pepper flakes
pepper, to taste
feta (optional)
drizzle of olive oil


1) In a large skillet, heat the pancetta on medium with olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onions and garlic and cook together until onions are tender.

2) Add the tomato sauce, red pepper, and black pepper to the skillet and mix around, being sure to scrape up any brown bits left on the bottom. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

3) Taste test. If it is not salty enough, add a little feta and let it stew with the sauce.