This recipe, adapted from one in Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992), produces results that are surprising from celery: creamy, sweet, luscious. The stalks' stringy fibers, often removed before cooking, here act as a brace to help the vegetable keep its shape through a long simmer. This recipe first appeared in our October 2011 issue along with Lesley Porcelli's story The Soft Approach.
- 3 oz. pancetta, cut into 1″ matchsticks
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, cut in half, cored, and very thinly sliced
- 2 lb. celery stalks, trimmed and diagonally cut into 2" lenghts
- 3⁄4 cup whole, peeled canned tomatoes with juice, crushed by hand
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste