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Bucatini All'Amatriciana


We made this one Saturday afternoon around 3pm. Why at such a random time? Well, because "Lidia's Italy" is on PBS at 12:30 here on Saturdays and this is what she made that particular day. I have seen that show probably only about 5 to 7 times in my life and have cooked pasta literally within 2 hours of watching it EVERY TIME. She just makes the pasta look so simple and beautiful. To me, that is the true judge of a good cooing show. When a great chef is on TV, as the show finishes you have the urge to get up and make something. When Alexandria was on at 10:30am, Mandi and I would have just finished breakfast and already be wondering what we were going to make later! Amatriciana is a traditional roman pasta dish that uses guanciale as the fat base. I can not find guanciale in Bermuda so I used pancetta here. This is totally acceptable by some, and considered a travesty by others!

Also, if you have a minute, check out my rival's site today where he mentions the food blog battle we are having on Monday. You can even leave him a threatening comment about how he is goin' down! Ahh the magic of the internet.

We followed Lidia's recipe closely, except for the whole guanciale thing.

The weird thing was you boil the onions instead of sauté.

Nice thin strips.

Actually, thin strips of everything. Even the canned tomatoes.

Spagetti is most traditional for this meal, but bucatini has become accepted as well. Mandi and I love bucatini for the little holes in the middle and the thickness of the noodles.

When the water has almost fully evaporated, add some olive oil.

Then put the onions on half the pan and the pancetta on the other half.

When the pancetta is finished cooking, add garlic and red pepper flakes (a hefty amount, 2 or 3 big pinches), and stir everything around for 2 minutes.

Then add your tomatoes. All this is happening while the pasta is cooking.

When the pasta is done 5 minutes later, add it to the sauce.

Shut off the heat and add some pecorino romano.

The sauce should be just coating the noodles and not smothering them. Condimento as Lidia says.

Easy, quick and fantastic. This dish is a classic for a reason. The simple flavors all come together perfectly. This recipe isn't available on her website which leads me to believe she wants you to buy her book, so I will not put it up here. If you aren't a moron however, you can probably tool it out from the pictures and descriptions!


I love buccatini but it can be hard to find. There's something incredibly attractive about chubby spaghetti with a secret sauce reserve in the center.

Yes. I just called pasta sexy.

Have fun taking Macheesmo DOWN! What's Alton Brown doing these days? I think you need him to moderate and narrate the battle.

I found you because I have been researching this exact dish for my blog. This is very, very good. I have tried and like Lidia recipe. But find the tomato to be a bit too "bright".

To counteract this some recipes I have read suggest fresh tomatoes. But canned is really the best way.

I have had it also in Abruzzo, Italy where I learned a trick that made this dish really sing. They used canned tomatoes, as I said, but they oven roast them to deepen the flavor, and improves the texture.

Good job choosing Pecorino. This is a Roman dish and one should honor it's roots.

But lastly, guanciale is really an important aspect of the dish. It is very sweet and porky. Other cured meats just do not have the same appeal (in my humble opinion).

You can order Guanciale online. But an almost acceptable substitute is braised apple smoked American slab bacon. American bacon is very salty. But it also has a sweeter note than pancetta. To remove the saltiness and retain the sweetness try the braise method. I use water and aromatics and bake the slab covered about 2 1/2 hours. Follow this with a few minutes under the broiler to improve it's color.

Sorry to blather on. I think I am practicing for my own post on the subject.

Thanks for this. I know I will be back. GREG

I totally agree and i love it when cooking shows make you want to get up and make what they just did. Even if you have none of the ingredients at home, it will make you jump in the car and speed over to the supermarket. My stomach can be a bit of a spoilt brat at times, if i don't feed it it's cravings, it fights me lol. Luckily it asks for some real good food but occasionally it asks for Maccas fries hehehe.

I like bucatini too, and for some reason it just partners so well with basil and black pepper.

hello, i've just popped by to leave you a threatening comment.
ok, that's not true - but i was sent here via Macheesmo.
i do love the Macheesmo.

so anyway
i hear there is to be a battle?
i look forward to that.
will there be male nudity involved?
or have i just lowered the tone?

I LOVE Lidia. I wish I could cook in her kitchen someday. Its like cooking with your gramma, I love the way she describes things, she's wonderful.

I have one of her books but was a little disappointed that there weren't many pictures in it. Didn't stop me from making some of her dishes though. Love that woman.

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