Don't be afraid! If you have read this blog you know that I find inspiration in all sorts of places, and really like to take classic dishes, put a little twist on them, all the while staying true to the original dish.

I found this idea for this pasta recipe in an Italian cooking magazine. It was their annual pasta issue and offered some lesser known pasta from three broad regions of Italy -- north, central and south.

The description was for orecchiette that used flour ground from the grains that had been burnt after the harvest to help rebuild and enrich the soil for the next planting. The peasants would go out after the fire was out and gather the burnt grains to grind into the flour for this pasta.

I didn't go as far as that, but I did smoke the flour lightly, then toasted it in the oven to give it a roasty flavor. I paired it with a rich, spicy tomato sauce and added some crispy, tender pork belly, well, just because I love it. Take a little time and give it a try and let me know what you think. Cheers!

Sauce Amatricianna

1 cup braised pork belly lardons

1 small red onion, diced

2 cups marinara - homemade or store bought

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon oilve oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsley, chopped for garnish

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add olive oil and lardons and cook until fat starts to render out and begins to crisp up. When pork begins to be crispy, add red onions and garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Add red pepper flakes and red sauce and reduce heat and allow to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pasta recipe

1 cup smoked and toasted flour

1 large egg

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons tepid water

1 teaspoon salt, smoked if you want a more smoky flavor

In a large bowl, place flour and add large egg, olive oil, water and salt. This is just an easier way then the well method on the counter top and a lot less messy. Mix with your finger tips until dough begins to come together. Remove from the bowl and kneed with the heel of your palm until the dough is completely mixed and slightly tacky to the touch.

Let dough rest for 20 minutes. Roll pasta into log, cut into small rounds, press with the tip of your thumb into the palm of your hand to form little disks, orecchiette. Repeat until you have enough pasta to suit your needs. Allow to dry slightly.

In a large sauce pot, fill with water and add enough salt to make the water taste like the ocean. Bring the water to a rapid boil. Add pasta to water and cook for 3-5 minutes or until it floats. Remove pasta from water and add to sauce. If pasta is too thick, add a bit of the pasta water to thin it down.

Place pasta into bowls and top with chopped parsley and enjoy!

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