|Serves||4 to 6|
Our version of the much-loved dish from Abruzzo, pasta all’amatriciana. Since the traditional signature ingredient, guanciale (tender pig-cheek bacon), is not available to us, we blanch and slow-cook a piece of slab bacon, which renders much of the fat and mellows strong cures.
Consider braising a larger chunk of bacon than you think you will need; you can use the extra for other recipes or wherever you ordinarily use bacon. I like the tender leftover bits and scraps fried in the same pan with eggs, with a trickle of the bacon-braising juices spooned over the top.
You can prepare this multipurpose bacon up to a week in advance, which is a boon. But for those times when braised bacon is not an option, make this dish with little strips of thickly sliced bacon. (Brown them while the pasta boils, then drain off most of the fat, stir in the peppery tomato sauce, and simmer together for a minute or two.)
We always make this sauce with canned tomatoes — roasting them concentrates their flavor and gives them a fleshy texture.
Pasta all’amatriciana is traditionally made with bucatini (also called perciatelli), but penne, penne rigate, and spaghetti are good alternatives. Offer freshly grated pecorino romano or pecorino sardo to garnish; the salty, feral flavor is a good match for this aggressive sauce. Parmigiano-Reggiano would taste out of place here.
|¾ to 1||lb. slab bacon, in one piece, skin removed|
|1||small carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped|
|1||stalk celery, coarsely chopped|
|1||small yellow onion, thickly sliced|
|1||bay leaf, crumbled|
|½||cup dry white wine|
|½||cup dry white vermouth|
|½||cup chicken stock or water|
|2½||cups drained canned whole tomatoes, juice reserved|
|½||cup extra-virgin olive oil|
|8||oz. sliced yellow onion (about 1 medium onion)|
|6||garlic cloves, coarsely chopped|
|1||tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for serving|
|~||Sugar, if needed|
|1||lb. bucatini, penne, penne rigate, or spaghetti|
|~||Freshly grated pecorino romano or pecorino sardo, to taste|
Culinate editor’s note: If the braised-bacon step seems daunting, make only the roasted-tomato sauce, then sauté some diced bacon and add it to the warm sauce. Serve over freshly cooked pasta with freshly grated cheese.
Related article: Making your own bacon
This content is from the book The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers.
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