Bored of your usual weeknight spaghetti? I've found a solution guaranteed to ruin any hope of you making packet/jar spaghetti ever again. I've discovered two ingredients that have changed my life. (okay, not changed, but certainly made my afternoon perfectly giddie yesterday) - with these ingredients, you can conquer the universe.
Bucatini and Pancetta.... HOLY MOLEY.
First of all, Bucatini pasta is heavenly. If you've never had it, it's not your typical pasta. To me, it looks like really really thick spaghetti, but when you hold it up, you can see a little whole going all the way through the long pasta stem. I have no idea how they do that, but it's wonderfully unique.
Secondly, pan-FREAKING-cetta. I can't even get started without saying this: it is beyond amazing. Bacon lovers: I have found you something that will change the way you feel about bacon. I thought bacon was the ultimate. I stand corrected. Pancetta is like the best bacon you've ever tasted... but a thousand times better. It's nuts, people. The flavors of pancetta are beyond ridiculous, and I seriously did a happy dance in the kitchen when I tasted my first little crunchy bite. It tastes like salty bacon, with rich flavorful pork undertones. How have I not had this stuff before?! Oh, that's right.... it's a whopping $5.59 for 5 thin slices. The splurge was more than worth it.
Not sure what it is? It's pork belly meat that is salt cured, then they season it with nutmeg, fennel, peppercorn, dried hot peppers, and garlic. Then they dry for at least three months - stick it in a moist little package, and sell it at the market.
So the combination of these two ingredients, plus onions, garlic, tomatoes, fresh Italian parsley and a little oil complete the dish. It was SO easy, and the flavors were unforgettable. The manchild loved it (what other kid is eating pancetta and bucatini on the block, eh? Such a spoiled little guy), and Ryan loved it, too (leftovers for lunch today).
I tried to do a little research on what "all-amatriciana" means. Let's just say, my hard-core Italian mother-in-law was sitting at work with an Italian native, and even they didn't know. So I'm callin' it on Rachael Ray. Google says it's just "pasta with bacon and tomatoes". Fair enough.
Speaking of bacon, apparently you can use it as a substitute for the pancetta (it will come out a bit more smokey flavored). Also, you can use just regular spaghetti instead of bucatini. But after what I just told you about both those original ingredients... how dare you.
1 lb bucatini (tube pasta that looks like spaghetti with a hole down the center of it)
2 T EVOO
1/4 lb, 4 or 5 slices, pancetta, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano or Romano. (I used parmesan)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt the water.
Cook bucatini pasta to al dente or, with a bite to it. Drain pasta well. Do not rinse. Starchy pasta holds more sauce. Toss hot pasta with sauce and serve. Pass grated cheese at the table to top pasta.
*recipe adapted from Rachel Day, Classic 30 Minute Meals
linking up here.