Bucatini All'Amatriciana

Dan and I went to Rome for our honeymoon.  Before we left, we handed my sister our travel books so that she could point out all of her favorite Roman activities (since she’d been there several times), and on the side of one of the restaurant pages, she scribbled a note to eat Bucatini All’Amatriciana at some point while we were there.  As always, she had impeccable taste, and we loved the Bucatini we ate during our trip.


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I’d been thinking about this dish ever since we got back, and I’d even looked for the noodles a few times without much success.  Then, by a stroke of luck, I found them at Target (my happy place), tucked away among in the kitchen area among the pots and pans.  I grabbed a box without thinking twice.  We had friends coming over that weekend, so I decided to test the recipe (from the back of the box no less!) on them.  The recipe was a hit with all of us, and we finished dinner in record time.

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Bucatini All'Amatriciana
adapted from the Giana DeLaurentis Bucatini box
Bucatini is a spaghetti-like pasta but is thicker and shaped like a straw. (I wonder if I could use a noodle to drink up the last of the sauce). The downside of this noodle is that it is so thick that it is really hard to eat politely. I was skeptical of a recipe from the back of a box, but it got a number of favorable of reviews online, and I wasn’t disappointed.  It didn’t even really need salt (the onion, bacon fat and garlic gave the sauce more than enough flavor). I went light on the red pepper flakes, so if you like a sauce with a good kick, you might want to add a few more pinches.

Ingredients
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 ounces bacon, diced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, blended
kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
1 pound bucatini or other long pasta

Directions

1.  In a large saucepan, heat the 2 T oil over medium heat.

2. Add the 6 oz. bacon and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.

3.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set aside.

4. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Stir in the 4 cloves garlic and pinch of red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

6. Add the 28 oz tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the cooked bacon.

7.  Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.

8. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook according to box directions.  Drain when finished and place in a large bowl.

9.Stir in the 1/2 c cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.

10.  Add the sauce to the pasta. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan.

Nutritionals (Serves 6) Cals: 541, Fat: 22, Carb: 68, Fiber: 6, Protein: 21