I’m sick. We’re all sick. Everyone has the sniffles, the sore throat, the strange things coming from their lung. I’ve been working 7 days a week, and haven’t had much time to cook (though I have fit in a few mini dinner parties and even one real one that involved scallops with an orange vanilla cream sauce, and my mother’s recipe for pork & figs with balsamic reduction (very easy)), but because I’m ill I vowed last night to stay in and use what I had to make something nutritious, delicious, and expelling of all grossness inside (read: something spicy).
First, chop half a slice of 1/4 inch thick pancetta into a dice. Throw it into a hot non-stick skillet at least 8 inches but hopefully more like 11 and let it get a little crispy. Add a boneless, skinless chicken breast cubed into small peices and turn the heat up, tossing frequently until the chicken is mostly done or just barely done.
Pour in enough heavy cream to coat the bottom of the pan, add a bunch of fresh thyme leaves, let it come to a simmer and pour the mixture into something else and let it sit aside.
Now put into the pan olive oil, half a shallot in a small dice, at least three garlic cloves or as many as you like coursely chopped on medium to medium low heat (remember my philosophy about cooking garlic slowly–it may smell good right away at high heat, but it will not taste nearly as complex or sweet as if you cook it on low heat for longer. Please also remember shallots have a high sugar content and will burn easily).
Add about half a large can of san marzano D.O.P. tomatoes (reserve the rest in your fridge for something else), about two teaspoons of dried thyme (crushed between your fingers as you put it in), about a teaspoon of chili flakes, and a good amount of salt (another few teaspoons). Put the heat to medium low or low, and let this cook 15-30 minutes. When it’s almost done, start a huge pot of water boiling for the garganelli, meanwhile add the chicken and cream mixture to the tomato sauce.
When the garganelli are almost done (you can substitute rigatoni but make sure its semola flour based), and the tomato and cream mixtures are heated and blended, add 2 tablespoons of creme fraiche to the sauce, turn the heat off, and grate a few tablespoons of piave and/or parmesean cheese in. Mix. Now add the pasta to the pan, toss to coat well, and serve (in my case, with kleenex on the side).