Monday, March 28th, 2005

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Even though I wasn’t wild about eating guanciale plain, I figured it must have some redeeming qualities as an ingredient. I went searching for a recipe and found that guanciale was put on this earth to be made into Bucatini all’Amatriciana (named after the Italian town of Amatrice).

I was really excited about the recipe because bucatini is one of my all-time favorite pastas. It’s shaped like spaghetti, but thicker and hollow. I love it because it’s chewy and holds sauces really well. I called Zach and told him to pick up a box of bucatini from DeLaurenti and I’d be over after work to cook dinner.

I generally don’t like cooking in other people’s kitchens as I’m particular about equipment. While Zach had all the pots and pans we needed for dinner, I realized what a difference it makes when cooking with tools you love. (I also think that maybe people who claim they don’t like to cook have only cooked with crappy equipment.) I found myself staring wistfully into the utensil drawer. There were many spoons and spatulas available, but not a single one called out to me. They were all too large and made of cheap plastic. When I held the spoon in my hand it seemed off proportion. Tools like these I tend to leave in the pan or too close to the burner in hopes that they’ll burn and need replacement.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for cooking that day, I turned out an incredible bowl of pasta. Although, I have to admit that the guanciale did most of the work. In the pasta dish the guanciale was turned in to something sublime. It was still salty and fatty, but when mixed with the starchy pasta and spicy tomato sauce, it seemed to have found the perfect companions to bring out its true nature. Every time I had a bite that included guanciale I would shout out “YUM!” in disbelief. I was astounded that a hunk of meat could make a simple pasta dish so incredible.

6 Responses to “Bucatini all’Amatriciana”

  1. Dr. Biggles says:

    Yeah, that’s it.
    I’m hip to cooking in other people’s kitchens. Thankfully I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and get to business. There’s usually very little or no thought as to how things are laid out. Run to this side for that, then go back to get something else. The tools have no “elvis” in them, nothing calls out to be used. In my own kitchen I found I was reaching here and there for fresh paper towls. So I put a dispenser near the stove area and one near the sink area. Ah I dunno, isn’t it supposed to be all about the food? For some I suppose. I like the gadgets too. And the knives and the shiny pots and the patina of old cast iron. Time fer a smoke.


  2. zach says:

    Damn—thanks for badmouthing my spoons. They’re in their drawer now…crying.

  3. megwoo says:

    Biggles, I love the “elvis” comment—that’s a perfect description!

  4. megwoo says:

    Sorry Zach,
    Tell your spoons it’s not them… it’s me.

  5. MisChef says:

    yeah, baby… guan-i-fuckin-cale…. mmmmmm… once you had it, you want more, dontcha? I ate the lardon-like tidbits straight out of the pan, when it was still to hot to actually eat. Really, really good stuff. Where did you get your recipe? I got mine from one of my clients, who (I found out later) owns a chain of restaurants in Boston. He also gave me his polenta recipe, which was crap, but this was great. P. S. fun blog!

  6. megwoo says:

    MisChef – Yep, I’m a guanciale addict now. I found a few recipes online and then modified them to my taste. What’s in your recipe?

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