After the unsettling and tragic events from the swath of destruction left behind by hurricane Florence last week, we are a nation that comes together in combined strength and respect for those who’ve perished, lost loved ones and their homes were destroyed. It’s only fitting, that even if we aren’t able to assist the devastated areas and offer succor to the ones in need, we cook for others, as giving makes us feel good and that keeps the people affected in our minds and our prayers.
So today, let’s cook something simple but rather outstanding. Originating from the town of Amatrice, Amatriciana sauce (Sugo all’Amatriciana) is one of the premier sauces in Italy’s rustic wheelhouse. The sauce is made robust by the use of guanciale and with the grated Pecorino Romano it adds even more earthiness to this already hearty sauce. And it’s even more spectacular by the use of chilis and black pepper, which gives it a healthy kick.
If guanciale isn’t readily available, pancetta is acceptable but not as traditional, so try to acquire some guanciale, which is available at most specialty supermarkets. It’s typically served over bucatini, because the long tubular ribbons really coat the sauce well. And the principal fact about this pasta dish, other than how insanely delish it is, it’s that you’ve got pasta presto in 30 minutes!
1 LB of bucatini
1 28 oz can of whole San Marzano tomatoes
4 oz of guanciale – chopped
½ TSP red pepper flakes
½ TSP fresh cracked black pepper
2 garlic cloves minced
2 shallots – finely chopped
½ TSP sugar
Kosher salt (careful as the guanciale will be salty)
½ Pecorino cheese – finely grated
Basil in chiffonade
In a medium working bowl, pour in the tomatoes with their juices. Crush them by hand, removing the center core, as that doesn’t cook down.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the guanciale and sauté until crisp, add the black pepper and red chili flakes – stir for a few minutes to release their aroma. Add the shallots and garlic and cook them for about 7 minutes till they are transparent. Incorporate the tomatoes and the sugar and simmer for about 15-20 minutes – stirring often until sauce thickens.
Meanwhile, heat up water to a boil with plenty of salt. Add the bucatini and cook till al dente. Drain and reserve some of the pasta water.
Add the pasta to the sauce and toss with tongs, add some water if the sauce is too thick. Incorporate the Pecorino. Serve immediately topping with additional cheese and some basil chiffonade.
Guanciale and pancetta is are both unsmoked pork products from Italy. Pancetta comes from the belly of the pig and guanciale from the meaty cheeks of the pig. Both are uncooked and cannot be consumed raw.