Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bucatini all'Amatriciana - Happy Birthday Phillip

Today is my friend Phillip's birthday. I thought it would be appropriate to post a recipe of one of the many dishes he made. This recipe is unique because it is the last dish Phillip cooked for me. You see, I lost my dear friend nearly a year ago and his absence is felt by many. Phillip was a larger than life kind of guy who truly enjoyed his food, his wine, and most importantly, his family and friends.
Phillip's love of food was amazing. He took the hobby of cooking to new levels and challenged himself to make great dishes. If it wasn't for Phillip, I wouldn't have tried half the dishes I have and actually enjoyed them. But more importantly to me, these moments of culinary delight were always accompanied with conversations that fullfilled me intellectually as his cooking satisfied my stomach.
My memories of Phillip are many and they will always remain dear to me. I can go on about my one of a kind friend, but today is just to wish him a Happy Birthday and share with you, one of his many dishes.

Amatriciana is a beloved Italian Pasta Sauce. It is slightly spicy red sauce, made with tomatoes and pancetta or guanciale, the Italian bacon.

Serves 4


  • 1 dried peperoncino, stem cafefully removed (be careful when using peperoncini not to touch your eyes afterwards), and seeds discarded.
  • ¼ lb. pancetta or guanciale (domestic guanciale, the Italian product is not easily available in the USA but an be special ordered, generally has more fat than pancetta, which is also available only in the domestic product)
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 12-20 leaves of fresh basil leaves, hand torn into smaller pieces
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. bucatini pasta
  1. In a large sauté pan add a tbsp. of olive oil, over medium heat,
  2. sauté the pepperoncini
  3. after 2 minutes add the pancetta or guanciale and cook for 4-5 minutes until it begins to brown.
  4. Add the onions and cook for approximately 5 minutes until they turn from transparent to slightly brown.
  5. Add the tomatoes carefully.
  6. Add 1/8 cup of water, if too thick, mix well and if using canned tomatoes add a pinch of sugar to reduce acidity.
  7. Add parsley and basil and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce starts to thicken.
  8. Boil 8 quarts of lightly salted water, add bucatini pasta, stir well into the boiling water, cook approximately 11 minutes, or to package directions.
  9. Taste a pasta strand. When cooked to al dente, that is with a slightly undercooked center remove the pasta with a pasta fork directly from the water into the sauce pan.
  10. Continue cooking over very low heat, while turning the pasta into the sauce so that all of the bucatini strands are well coated.
  11. Fork the pasta into individual serving bowls.
  12. Sprinkle a mixture of grated pecorino and parmigiano cheese over each bowl, to taste.
  13. Add a swirl of olive oil to each bowl.
  14. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

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