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Total Time:
30 minutes

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  • 4 cups semolina flour
  • Salt for pasta water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pancetta
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 T finely minced jalapenos
  • 2 T minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • Dried pepper flakes


  1. On a work surface, spread semolina in a layer 1/2 inch thick.  Have a bowl containing a quart of cold water ready.  Line a large baking sheet with sides with parchment or waxed paper.
  2. Dip the fingers of one hand into cold water and sprinkle semolina by flicking water off your hand.  Repeat until semolina is well speckled with droplets but not saturated.  Use a dough scraper or spatula to gather semolina lightly into a mount.  You will see tiny clumps of dough form.  Place all the semolina in a large strainer and sift it back over work surface.  Spread tiny clumps that are left in the strainer on the baking sheed. 
  3. Repeat step 2 three or four times until almost all the semolina is in clumps on the baking sheet.  The last quarter cup of so will be too damp to continue and should be discarded.  If not cooking pasta immediately, sprinkle it lightly with additional semolina and cover it loosely with a clean cloth.  It can be left up to 24 hours.
  4. Bring 4 quarts of well-salted water to a boil.  Dump pasta clumps in and cook about a minute, until water just about returns to boil.
  5. Place olive oil in a 4 quart saute pan or shallow saucepan.  While pasta cooks, warm olive oil over medium heat and add pancetta and cook till cripsy.  Add garlic and jalapenos so they start to sizzle. 
  6. Use a skimmer to drain pasta from boinling water and transfer it to the pan with oil.  Some moisture should be left clinging to pasta.  Alternatively, reserve about 3 cups of pasta water, then drain pasta in a colander.
  7. Gently stir pasta in oil for a few minutes, gradually adding enough pasta water to keep mixture quite moist, like a risotto.  Fold in parsley , 4 tablespoons cheese, and, if desired, dried pepper flakes to taste.  Divide among six soup bowls, dust each portion with remaining cheese and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Italia Trattoria


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