Bucatini all’ Amatriciana is one of those quick pasta dishes that draws raves from unexpecting guests. Guanciale, the pig’s jowl bacon, is the star of the show here and one of the rare foods that makes you burn the calories before you actually eat it – chances are you’ll have to trek across town just to find this sucker. You could of course substitute it for bacon or pancetta but it’ll be a little bit like trying to win a marathon on clutches. For the best odds of ooohh’s and ahhh’s at the dinner table go find yourself some guanciale, or make your own if you live in a place large enough to have a porky smell buffer zone and/or understanding mates.
After experimenting quite a bit with this pasta i found that imported canned San Marzano cherry tomatoes works best here. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, and i’m not afraid to repeat it: canned cherry tomatoes imported from Italy beat the crap out of the fresh stuff (unless of course you have access to extra-premium tomatoes which will be out-of-season before you can say out-of-season. Done.). We’re after the sweetness here that balances out the deep porky flavor so perfectly, and combined with red onions, garlic and red pepper flakes it creates the ideal ‘yang’ to the other rich ingredients. Pecorino-Romano cheese is tossed at the end to make this pasta dish extra luscious. And if the person sitting across the table tries to jump on you after a few bites… you’re on your own.
I know i’ve been a bit of a slacker with the last giveaway but it’s finally time to announce the winner of “Table Manners” by Mia King. I randomly asked someone to give me a number between 1 and 59 on twitter (not saying why) and @chefashbabe tweeted back number # 17 within seconds. I’m happy to announce the winner of “Table Manners” is comment #17: 5 Star Foodie. Congrats! Contact me soon so i can arrange shipping. Next giveaway coming up soon. Stay tuned.
- Serves 4
For the pasta:
- 3/4 lb guanciale, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon XV olive oil
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- salt & black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1 can San Marzano cherry tomatoes, with the juice
- 1 lb bucatini
- 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano, freshly grated
- Chopped parsley (optional)
- Bring an 8 quart pot of water to a boil. Add 3 tablespoons of salt.
- Add the olive oil to a large saute pan over medium-low heat and add the guanciale slices. Cook them slowly until they render their fat and become crisp, about 10 min.
- Add the sliced red onion and garlic to the pan (do not discard the fat, Misérable!) and continue cooking slowly for 10 more minutes, or until the onion is very soft. Meanwhile, put the cherry tomatoes + juice in a small bowl and crush with the back of a fork.
- Cook the bucatini ‘al dente’.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan and keep cooking on slow heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add a little bit of the cooking water to the pan if the sauce gets too thick.
- Add the Bucatini and toss with Pecorino-Romano and chopped parsley if using. Serve immediately. Enjoy!