4 to 6 servings
Maltagliati means badly cut and usually applies to fresh homemade pasta. Here I give you a shortcut way to enjoy the shape by breaking up dry lasagna sheets. If you want to make fresh maltagliati, follow the recipe for pastice—the regional names vary but the shape is the same.
When using fresh pasta, remember you need more cooking water and you must stir maltagliati frequently, as the flat pieces have tendency to stick. And if you don’t have lasagna, a long dry pasta such as fusilli lunghi, or spaghetti will be delicious as well with this sauce.
- 1 pound dry lasagna, broken into irregular pieces, about 2-inches wide
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 ounces thick-cut bacon, in ½-inch pieces (1/2 cup)
- 1 medium onion sliced (1-1/2 cups)
- ½ cup diced celery, ¼-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste, plus salt for the pasta pot
- ½ teaspoon peperoncino or to taste
- 3 cups (or a 28-ounce can) canned Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand
- 1 cup freshly grated pecorino plus more for passing
Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the big skillet and set over medium-high heat. Toss in the bacon pieces and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes as they sizzle and render their fat. Stir in the sliced onion, cook half a minute, stir in the diced celery and season with ½ teaspoon or so of salt and the peperoncino. Cook, tossing and stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften and start to color, about 5 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, season with more salt, stir well, and bring to a boil. Cook the sauce at a nicely perking simmer for 10 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, heat 6 quarts of water, with 1 tablespoon salt, to the boil in a large pot. Drop in the maltagliati, and cook only until quite al dente. With a spider, lift the pasta from the cooking pot, drain briefly, and drop it onto the simmering sauce.
Toss pasta and sauce together for a minute or two. If the dish is dry, ladle in a bit of hot pasta water from the cooking pot. If the dish is soupy, toss it over high heat until concentrated.
Turn off the heat, toss in the grated pecorino, and drizzle over it the remaining olive oil. Serve directly from the skillet, or from a warm serving bowl, passing additional cheese at the table.