Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bucatini All'Amatriciana

     This spicy Abbruzzese Shepherd's pasta is a classic Italian recipe.  Amatrice, Italy is the area where this pasta originates.  This pasta is spicy enough to warm up a cold shepherd after a long day of working in chilly bad weather.
     Guanciale (Cured pig jowls) is what the local Italians use to make this pasta.  Guanciale is not always easy to get in America, even at good Italian markets.  Pancetta can be used in place of guanciale to make this pasta.
     Bucatini is like a very thick spaghetti that is hollow in the middle like a long tube.  The hole in bucatini is very small.  Bucatini was my favorite childhood pasta because of the noise that can be made when slurping bucatini up!
     Buying a section of pancetta from an Italian market and slicing it yourself is better than buying pre-packaged sliced pancetta at a grocery store.  Pre-packaged sliced pancetta is sliced far too thin.  This recipe calls for a thick diced pancetta or guanciale.

     Bucatini All'Amatriciana Recipe:
     Bucatini pasta usually takes more than ten minutes to be cooked al dente.  The sauce can be made while the pasta is boiling.
     Cook 1 portion of bucatini pasta in boiling water over high heat, till it becomes al dente.
     Occasionally stir the pasta with a pasta stick.
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 3 ounces of medium diced guanciale or pancetta.
     Add 2 cloves of coarsely chopped garlic.
     Add 2 large shallots that are cut in half.
     Saute till golden brown highlights appear on the pancetta, garlic and shallots.
     Add 1 1/4 cups of imported Italian canned crushed San Marzano plum tomatoes.  (Use the best tomatoes that you can get for this pasta!)
     Add sea salt and crushed black peppercorns.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 2 pinches of crushed dried red pepper.
     Let the sauce come to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer the sauce and stir it occasionally.
     When the pasta is almost cooked al dente, add 6 or 7 whole Italian parsley leaves to the sauce.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
     Drain the water off of the bucatini, when it becomes al dente.
     Add the portion of al dente cooked bucatini pasta to the sauce.
     Toss the sauce and pasta together.
     Mound the pasta on a plate.
     Sprinkle some grated romano cheese over the pasta.  (Romano cheese or pecorino romano is required for this recipe.  Parmesan cheese has the wrong flavor profile for this sauce!)

     If you like a spicy pasta, then All'Amatriciana is for you!
     What?  No basil or oregano?  Some regions of Italy do npt use stereotypical Italian ingredients in their pasta sauces.  Thyme tastes great with hot peppers, guanciale (or pancetta) and tomatoes!  If you notice in the pictures, the small amount of sauce clings to the pasta and the pasta is not swimming in sauce.
     Yum!  This is one of Italy's favorite pastas.  Ciao Baby!  ...  Shawna

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