Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bucatini all' Amatriciana

What a wonderful night!

I took a great class on the foods of Rome.  It was so informative and of course the food was FANTASTIC!  Were cooked for hours and were rewarded with a huge Roman feast!  The first course, or primi, was a wonderful salad.  The second course, or secondi, was a wonderful pasta.

This is what I've brought to you today.  It was so exciting using simple fresh ingredients that when put together are sooo tasty.  The flavors just burst in your mouth.  I felt like I was sitting in an outdoor cafe under the stars.  Dreaming of Rome...

I've actually been to Rome and the food there is simple, fresh, and perfect.  Take the pasta, it is not flooded with sauce and they serve you here in the states.  It is dredged simply with a sauce just to cover it and provide fresh flavor.

The key to this dish is to buy the freshest and best quality ingredients you can.  When you only use several ingredients each one must count.  This pasta is a typical dish served in the trattorias of Rome.  A simple sauce of onions, tomatoes, and pancetta that top bucatini pasta.  Bucatini is a thick spaghetti like noodle with a hole running through it.  If you can't find it, then just use spaghetti.  It's all good. 

Here we don't typically service pasta as a course.  It can be a complete main dish, or a side dish to chicken or beef.  However you choose to serve this the dish will turn out perfect!

Stay tuned for more "Roman" dishes.

Bucatini all' Amatriciana

serves 4-6

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/3 lb. pancetta, diced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 lb. ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded
and diced, or 2 cups chopped canned plum
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
1 lb. dried bucatini or spaghetti
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese 

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and pancetta, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta renders some of its fat, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, adding a little water if the sauce becomes too thick. Season with salt. Remove from the heat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir well and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 12 minutes or according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, reheat the sauce gently over low heat.

Drain the pasta and return to the warm pot. Add the sauce and 1/4 cup of the pecorino cheese. Toss well. Divide among warmed dishes. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and toasted pine nuts, dividing it evenly. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Classic Pasta at Home, by Janet Fletcher (Time-Life Books, 1998)

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