Oh I do love bucatini all'amatriciana. Mostly because I love cooking with fatty bits of cured pork. Oh heavens yum. Mario, help me out.
This recipe consists of two main parts--the basic tomato sauce, and then the second sauce with the guanciale and jazz for the amatriciana aspect. The amatriciana recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of the basic tomato sauce, but the recipe for the basic tomato sauce (I feel like this is the M.C. Escher of recipes) is for 4 cups, so I halved the ingredients for the basic tomato sauce.
Recipe adapted from Mario Batali.
Basic tomato sauce:
- 2 TBS of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice (Spanish onions, at least in my neck of the woods, tend to be gigantor, so I just used a small yellow onion)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 TBS dried thyme (or 1 TBS chopped fresh thyme)
- 1 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Salt, to taste
- The recipe also calls for 1/2 medium carrot (so I would have used a whopping 1/4 carrot), finely shredded, but I just left out the carrot completely because I strongly dislike dealing with carrots and it didn't seem worth it
- Note: The full recipe says this makes 4 cups, but with 2 28-oz cans of tomatoes (the original, full amount), I fail to see how that's only 4 cups. But whatever.
The main event:
- ¾ pound guanciale, or pancetta, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 red onion, halved and sliced 1/2" thick
- 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups basic tomato sauce
- 1 pound bucatini (I used something called perciatelli which seems to be very similar to bucatini--if neither of these are available, feel free to use spaghetti or linguine)
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsely, leaves only (oops, forgot this)
- Pecorino Romano, grated
First, make the basic tomato sauce.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, and add in garlic and onions.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add in tomatoes and their juices, as well as the dried thyme.
Bring to boil and then lower heat to simmer. Stir occasionally while simmering for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is pretty thick. I forgot to take a picture.
While the sauce is simmering, prep the amatriciana sauce ingredients. Place the guanciale (or pancetta) in a large pot and turn on the heat to low or medium low. The idea is to cook the guanciale very slowly so that the fat has a chance to render out before those bits of pork get nice and crispy.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until guanciale is nice golden brown. Don't be surprised if this takes a long time--it probably took me about 20 minutes.
Scoop out the guanciale bits with a slotted spoon on set on paper towel-covered plate to drain excess fat. Pour out half of fat from pot (oh sooooo SSAAAADDD....)
While the guanciale was cooking, you can prep and measure out the other ingredients--garlic, red onion, and red pepper flakes.
Turn stove to medium-high heat, and add in the red onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and the cooked guanciale.
Cook until the garlic and onions are golden brown. The recipe says about 5 minutes, but mine might have taken longer. Can't remember.
Almost there. So close. Add in the basic tomato sauce. While the recipe calls for just 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce, I just added everything I had made, which was about 2 cups (after it had been simmering and reducing for a while). Maybe more, doesn't matter. Just make sure it's a nice and thick sauce. Bring to simmer and wait for the pasta.
Cook your pasta according to the package directions, shaving off 1 or 2 minutes. Drain pasta and add into the guanciale sauce, cooking until desired texture/consistency.
Stir in a generous handful of Pecorino Romano. You can also top with parsley at this point, which I totally forgot.