Monday, May 17, 2010

Bucatini All'Amatriciana/Broccoli Strascinati

Given the success of my two earlier forays into cooking with Saveur recipes (one of which was chronicled in the last posting), I decided to dive into the cover feature of the April issue (focusing on classic Roman dishes) this past Friday night. On the commissary menu was Bucatini Alla'Amatriciana (bucatini in spicy tomato sauce) and Broccoli Strascinati (broccoli with garlic and hot pepper).

Now, you may ask, what exactly is bucatini? That's a fine question. I wasn't sure myself until I visited my local Italian market and perused some of the more obscure pasta types imported from the Motherland. There it was right next to the plain spaghetti. The best way to describe it is that it looks like straws that have a very small hollow center (slightly larger than a pinhole). If they're using bucatini in Rome, I suppose it would be a breeze to slurp up the sauce in the bottom of the bowl once you get to the end of the plate. Ingenious. I also sought out some guanciale at the market, which is described as "cured pork jowl". I didn't know how to pronounce it when I asked the deli counter man if they had it, he didn't know what I was talking about, and it turns out that they had nothing of the sort anyway. Luckily, the recipe allows you to substitute pancetta for the guanciale (it's much easier to find - even Large Corporate Grocery store has some).

Both the pasta dish and the broccoli dish were pretty simple to assemble. The hardest part seemed to be prepping the pancetta, which has a tendency to stick together when cold (it's on the fatty side). The bucatini had a bit of a kick to it, owing to the red chili flakes. Mrs. Hackknife proclaimed the broccoli "the best she's ever had", not surprising as it's essentially fried in garlic and olive oil (what's not to like, right?). There were no broccoli leftovers (note to self: make a larger batch next time), but the pasta has re-heated nicely a couple of times for lunch.

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