Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A red sauce joint


Bucatini all'amatriciana has been on my kitchen to-do list ever since I had it in Vancouver a few years ago. A simple tomato sauce where the sweetness of the tomatoes plays off the saltiness of the guanciale (cured pork jowl) and the heat of peperoncini, it's a winning dish with very few ingredients. The snag is that one of those few ingredients, guanciale, was tough to come by in my frozen corner of the world.

Fast-forward to a recent feature on chef Daniel Costa in local food mag The Tomato. Daniel shared his killer recipe (as well as a handful of others I'm keen to try), and the discovery that the helpful nugget that is the Italian Centre now stocks guanciale. I bought some within a day of reading that article. With a slab in hand (sold vacuum-packed), the only real challenge was slicing the meat as thin as it needed to be. I think I'll ask the deli to do it next time…

Bucatini all'amatriciana from The Tomato
Serves 4

450 gr bucatini
1 piece guanciale (about 350 grams)
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 c canned San Marzano tomatoes, passed through a food mill
1 t hot chilies
¼ c Pecorino romano, grated
1 head Italian parsley, leaves picked
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt

Heat a little olive oil in a large pan. Add the sliced guanciale and fry until golden. Add the sliced garlic and cook until it just starts to turn golden. Add the pepperoncini, followed by the tomatoes. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes stirring frequently.

Add a generous handful of kosher salt (4 T) to 12 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Save 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta; add to the simmering sauce. Stir the bucatini into the sauce and add the pecorino and parsley. Add a little pasta water if needed.

Serve pasta immediately. Top with a little more pecorino and pepperoncini.

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