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Thursday, July 21, 2022


Abruzzese Bucatini alla Amatriciana

This dish is named after Amatrice, a mountainous town on the border between Lazio and Abruzzi, 2 hours northeast of Rome. On the Sunday after Fer Agosto, August 15 (Market Day), Bucatini alla Amatriciana is the corner stone dish for local celebrations and uses the long, hollow Italian pasta (bucatini, literally means small hole.) No self-respecting Roman restaurant would dare leave this dish off the menu, but it is often made with other types of pasta, including rigatoni or spaghetti.

"Fair August" is one of the most observed Italian public holidays when practically all of Italy grinds to a halt. For some reason, unknown to me, around the coliseum in Rome is a favorite hangout at this time.

1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 ounces of guanciale (cured hog's jowl), finely diced (substitute ½ pancetta, ½ salt pork)
3 Tablespoons sweet butter or 50-50 with olive oil
1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ teaspoon or more crushed red peppers to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Romano pecorino cheese
1 pound bucatini pasta 
A little chopped basil

Heat a large covered pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Taste the water to insure salt level. Initially, under salt as the cured pork product is very salty and so is the pecorino cheese.

Sauté the onions in melted butter until limp and nearly transparent. Add the peppers and guanciale and sauté until onion is golden about 8 to 10 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and cook over medium-high heat stirring occasionally. Make sure sauce does not burn, cook about 15 minutes. Correct seasonings

Cook the bucatini in rapidly boiling water until “al dente.”

Drain pasta well, and combine with sauce. Toss well for at least a minute. Turn out on a warmed serving platter, top with cheese, garnished with fresh chopped basil.

  1. Normally, in August, we are at the height of the tomato growing season when fresh tomatoes are at their best. The San Marzano region near Naples is considered one of the best tomato growing regions in the world, and cans stamped with the DOP seal signifies that it contains only those tomatoes grown in the province of Salerno, vine-ripened, peeled an