After Hours: Bucatini all’Amatriciana

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Decadent guanciale flavors the Roman classic Bucatini all’Amatriciana.

After Hours is a Saturday night ritual for our staff at The Boiler Room when our chefs cook one last “family” meal for the week before our much-appreciated two days off. This usually begins around midnight and goes until, well . . . way too late for me, but Elizabeth and I decided it was our turn to host and give the kitchen staff a break. We settled on the spicy, pork-infused masterpiece known as Bucatini all’Amatriciana, a dish with origins in Abruzzo, but now a staple of the Roman table. Guanciale (pig jowls) flavor the sauce, leaving a mouth-coating richness on the palate. A dry wine with good acidity is essential for cutting through this fat, refreshing the palate for another bite. We chose a 2006 Chianti Colli Fiorentini from Fattoria di Lucignano for this occasion, but an inexpensive Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or a medium-priced Aglianico from Campania would be terrific here as well.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana (Boiler Room After Hours style)

Make a simple red sauce using canned San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, and onions. In a pan over medium heat, sauté some smashed garlic and chopped onions until soft. Add the San Marzano tomatoes and crush them by hand. Let simmer until thick.

Boil a large pot of salted water. In another pan, sauté diced guanciale (La Quercia in Norwalk, Iowa is our favorite) until brown. This will result in a lot of rendered pork fat, some of which should be drained off and set aside. Remove the guanciale with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on a plate lined with paper towels. In the same pan, sauté some smashed garlic cloves and onions in the remaining pork fat until soft. Add the San Marzano sauce and season with red chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste, and allow to simmer.

When most of your guests have arrived, add the bucatini or spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente.

Add the pasta to the sauce. Garnish with shaved Pecorino Romano and serve.

posted on July 13 2009 by jesse

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