Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Bucatini All'Amatriciana

Lupa is one of my favorite restaurants in New York. Babbo's twin sister, it has a more relaxed atmosphere and more reasonable prices, but its still classic Mario Batali.  My favorite thing to get when I go to Lupa (though they have the same dish at Babbo) is Mario's classic pasta dish bucatini all'amatriciana. I was able to score some bucatini, or hollow tubular pasta at Eataly a couple weeks ago, in preparation to make this dish using Mario's original recipe.  You really do need to use actual bucatini pasta to make this dish properly. Yes, you can use spaghetti, but it really takes away from the dish having the proper texture and feel, and maybe even taste. This time I did everything to the letter and I was thrilled with the results of this textbook bucatini all'amatriciana. Yes, I usually do not eat pig-derived products as a rule, but this is the one dish I make an exception for!

Mario Batali's Bucatini All'Amatriciana (adapted from this recipe)
3/4 pound guanciale
3 garlic cloves
1 red onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes (I used closer to only 1 tsp)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups basic tomato sauce (see below; note I used more than Mario because I like a saucy pasta)
1 lb bucatini
1 bunch fresh leaf parsley
pecorino romano or parmesan for grating

Mario's basic tomato sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 spanish onion, chopped in a quarter inch dice
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 T chopped fresh thyme
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand, juices reserved
salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and onion and cook until golden brown. Add the thyme and carrot and cook five minutes more until the carrot has softened, before adding the tomato and juices. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and serve. This makes 4 cups and technically you are only supposed to use two cups, but I used all of it and the dish was saucy and amazing.

Next, bring a large pot of about six quarts of water to boil with two teaspoons salt.  In a saute pan, cook the guanciale slices over medium heat until most of the fat has been rendered from the meat, rotating occasionally.  Remove the meat, and use the remaining fat to cook the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. According to Mario you are supposed to discard some of the fat if you have too much but I didn't so I kept it all. Return the guanciale to the pan and cook for another five minutes until the onions look golden brown in color. Season with salt and pepper and add in the tomato sauce.

Cook the bucatini in the boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the simmering sauce, while adding the parsley at the end. Then, turn to high heat, and toss to coat. Serve immediately with grated cheese.


1 comment:

  1. I'm not a huge pasta person, but this looks great. I love Eataly!


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