Eating well is taken seriously by Commissario Brunetti, hero of Donna Leon's popular mystery series set in Venice. His wife, Paola, concocts meals for Brunetti in every book, and "these succulent lunches and dinners have become so central to the series that fans have been clamoring for the recipes," says cooking columnist Sybil Pratt. With the publication of Brunetti's Cookbook, they now have them, and today we're sharing one with you. Read on for a delicious and easy pasta dish full of Italian flavor.

Penne Rigate with Tomatoes, Bacon, Onions and Chilli
Penne rigate con pomodoro, pancetta, cipolla, peperoncino

Serves 4


10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 fresh chillies, cut into small pieces
4 cups ripe tomatoes, chopped
3½ fl oz dry white wine
12oz penne rigate
5 slices mild bacon, diced
1 bay leaf
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan or casserole and add the onion, 1sprig of rosemary, a pinch of salt, the chillies, and a little water. Cook gently until the onion becomes transparent, gradually adding the tomatoes and wine to make a thick, smooth sauce. Adjust the seasoning with salt.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water and drain.

Meanwhile put the diced bacon, the second sprig of rosemary and the bay leaf into a small pan and cook over a low heat until the bacon is crisp. Drain the pasta and toss gently with the sauce and bacon, then sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.


Brunetti's CookbookRecipe from Brunetti's Cookbook by Roberta Pianaro and Donna Leon, copyright 2010; used with permission of Grove/Atlantic Publishers. All rights reserved.

Read more about the book here—and click this link to read reviews of Donna Leon's mysteries.

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