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Taster’s Cherce

I’ve talked about Bucatini All’Amatriciana many times before. It’s my go-to meal, a signature dish in Rome (or just outside of Rome). It’s simple: bacon (or, in Rome, Guanciale), onions, hot pepper flakes, olive oil and tomatoes. Served with bucatini, the long pasta with a hole in the middle.

There are many variations on this theme and just as many arguments about the proper way to make the dish. Marcella Hazen doesn’t use olive oil, she uses butter and vegetable oil. Some people add garlic. Lydia Bastianich cooks the onions in pasta water first and once they are softened she adds the oil. Everyone is convinced their way is the correct way.

Anyhow, here are two more versions to fool around with.

One, from a Portland Chef named Rachel Grossman (via Saveur). It is certainly more involved than the traditional method, has far more ingredients. Curious to give it a try to see why she goes in that direction.

And here’s another–which I’ve tried and recommend–from New York chef (co-owner of Dell’Anima and L’Artusi)¬†Gabe Thompson.

[Photo Credit: Todd Coleman]

10 comments

1 Mrs. Peterson-Kekich   ~  Jul 2, 2012 9:12 am

Great with bacon, but Guanciale takes it to the next level . . .

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 2, 2012 9:36 am

1) Agreed, though sometimes I like guanciale best, cubed and sauteed with just olive oil on something like fussili. Maybe a little grated cheese. Fresh minced chives and parsley. It's such a strong flavor, I like it to shine without the acidity of the tomatoes. But yeah, you can never go wrong with guanciale.

3 Jim in Binghamton   ~  Jul 2, 2012 9:37 am

I like Batali's recipe in his Babbo cookbook. very porky.

Re the 2 recipes linked:

(1) Grossman's -- (a) don't think the sage and rosemary should be there. Would seem to overwhelm the dish. (b) If using American bacon you need to blanch it to get rid of the smoky flavor, which is not legit in this dish. I'd use pancetta if you can't get guanciale.(c)Red onion, not yellow.

(2) Thompson's -- (a) too much cheese. Oh, and this is a friggin Roman dish! -- Parmigiono has no place. Pecorino Romano please folks. (b) Not nearly enough pancetta. Should be at least 1/2 lb. I also like the pork sliced rather than diced.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 2, 2012 10:00 am

3) Nice! That's right about pancetta, I should have mentioned that. And great call about the Pecorino.

Hey, why red instead of yellow onion?

5 Jim in Binghamton   ~  Jul 2, 2012 10:06 am

(4) re the onion -- just a taste preference.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 2, 2012 10:10 am

5) Nice. Would you ever think to use shallots?

7 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 2, 2012 10:21 am

[6] Scallions, maybe. Cut into teeny-tiny slices. I already use bits of bacon (not facon) in my pasta sauce, so I gotta try this.

8 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 2, 2012 10:39 am

No, I don't think scallions would work here. But I like that you cut them into teeny-tiny slices. My man!

9 Jim in Binghamton   ~  Jul 2, 2012 11:09 am

(6) hmmm. Pork with the shallots seems very French tasting.

If you like shallots, this is the recipe for you

10 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 2, 2012 11:55 am

9) Or Thai! Thanks for the link. I've got that book. Wells is the bomb.

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