My favorite pasta dish–it is so hard to find! And when I find it, it rarely measures up. Lupa, one of Mario Batali’s renown restaurants on Thompson Street in NYC presents this dish exceptionally well using bucatini pasta. A friend from Italy gave me some maccheroncini pasta from her hometown of Calabria. With this sauce, I recommend an authentic Italian pasta that isn’t too light weight.
After a long search to an unsatisfying avail, I decided to dissect this dish repeatedly & get to the bottom of the yummy mystery. I finally have it down. If what my mother told me was true about becoming what you eat–I might actually turn into this wonderful, flavorful Italian gem. Try it & tell me what you think!
1/2 red onion
5-6 fresh basil leaves
a good virgin olive oil
1 750g box of Pomi tomato sauce
Millefiore (wildflower) honey
1 pound maccheroncini pasta
2 salt pellets
1/2 pound of pancetta or 8 thick cut strips of applewood smoked bacon
a good red table wine, such as a vino Nobile de Montepulciano
You can substitute
another good quality Italian imported tomato sauce for the Pomi
local honey, although I think this changes the flavor
buccatini substituted for the maccheroncini. In a pinch, use a ribbed penne
cayenne powder in place of the peperoncini
pancetta, which is more authentic than the bacon, but the smoked bacon is a key ingredient in my recipe
3 teaspoons of sea salt in place of the salt pellets
Lets get cooking…
I start by separating some of the fat from the bacon. Leave a small amount of the fat for flavoring, but discard most of it. Slice the bacon into about 1″ segments.
On medium heat, start cooking the bacon in a 2″ deep sauce pan or iron skillet.
deep pot of water with ample room for your pasta to swim
bring your water pot to a full boil before tossing in your pasta
read your pasta cooking time on the instructions, and take a minute off. Your pasta should have a slight bounce still in it & should never be mushy
Stir the bacon, and while it fills the kitchen with a heavenly smell, pour yourself a glass of the red wine. Let the bottle air a bit before dinner. You will need a splash or two in the pan as well.
Stir the bacon again & finely chop your carrot and your shallots.
Cook the mixture until the red onions begin to turn slightly soft, but before they are translucent.
Once your water starts to boil add your pasta.
This is bucatini. It looks like long extra thick spaghetti, but it has a hollowed core. It’s quite yummy, but not always easy to find.This pasta came from my friend, Stefania, who gave it to me the last time I was in Rome. It is an artisan pasta, The shape hold the sauce well and might be a shape you can find in your supermarket a bit easier.
It’s nearly everywhere and is a good pasta.