What is Lardo?
If you’re not accustomed to eating or cooking with animal fat, lardo might seem a bit weird. Fear not, it will be worth the adventure. Not unlike pork belly, lardo is essentially a thick slab of dense fat. Pork belly (as its name would imply) comes from the belly of a pig, whereas lardo comes from the back. If you’re from the southern US you’ve probably heard of “fatback” – same same but different. Just like how grits and polenta are the same, but different.
Depending on which region the lardo comes from it may be seasoned and cured with things like rosemary, garlic, sage, oregano, coriander, anise, and cinnamon. While we’re going to be cooking it in this recipe, it is often sliced very thin and eaten as an appetizer and can be whipped and spread on bread. Very versatile, very fatty, very delicious.
In this dish, the lardo will melt into the sauce and make it velvety and delicious.
- You can replace the ziti with any other tube pasta
- If you can’t find lardo, you can use pancetta or guanciale instead although it will be a very different texture
- If you prefer a slightly sweeter, richer taste you can use datterini tomatoes instead of cherry
Ziti Lardiati Recipe
Pasta with Lardo - Ziti Lardiati
- 12oz (320g) Ziti or Zitoni pasta
- 4.5oz (130g) Lardo (Lardo di Colonnata or Lardo di Arnad)
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 handful fresh basil or parsley
- 14oz (400g) fresh cherry tomatoes
- 3-4 tbsp tomato passata (strained or pureed' tomatoes)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 glass white wine
- 2 oz (50g) pecorino cheese
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Peel the garlic clove and onion. Cut the onion and lardo into very small pieces.
- Step 2 Do the same with the tomatoes after washing them.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet. Brown the garlic in the pan (be careful not to burn it) and then add the onion and lardo.
Cook slowly for 10 minutes so the lardo melts.
Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. When it starts to boil, add salt and bring to the boil again.
Add the white wine to the onions and lardo, turn up the heat and let the alcohol evaporate.
At this point add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt, then stir. add the basil or parsley. Once the tomatoes start to soften add the passata and tomato concentrate. Stir again.
Cook for 10 minutes then remove the garlic.
Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. When it’s ready save a cup of the cooking water and drain.
Add the grated cheese to the sauce and mix together and stir until the cheese melts. If the sauce seems dry add some of the pasta cooking water.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix everything together so the pasta gets coated in the sauce.
- Step 12 Serve immediately sprinkled with a little more chopped basil or parsley, and some grated pecorino if required.
Source: The Pasta Project