It's the season finale of True Blood tonight (!!!) and in anticipation I spent the afternoon watching old Buffy reruns...more or less. What? It was raining.
There are so many unanswered questions from the last ep. I'm most concerned about Eric and whether he is now really dead or still just vampire dead. Obvs the peeps at HBO aren't going to let the top hottie leave the show, so I expect a full vampire recovery!
A big bowl of bucatini smothered in tomatoey goodness seemed like the appropriate TB watching meal. And I've been saving a package of bucatini that I found a few months ago at a random little Italian deli that I discovered while on location out of the city. This pasta is not the easiest shape to find so if you don't have a great Italian market near you, just use spaghetti.
Bucatini is the classic shape for this sauce from Amatrice, a town in central Italy. There is some question about whether onion and garlic are classic ingredients, but I like the addition. Also, while guanciale is the preferred unsmoked Italian bacon used in this sauce, it too can be hard to find, so pancetta is a good substitute. Now I'm just going to have to find a good substitute for Sunday nights at 9:00...
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 pound guanciale or pancetta, sliced 1/4 -inch thick, then cut into 1-inch slivers
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce can) whole peeled (preferably San Marzano) tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup grated aged Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 pound bucatini
1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until transparent. Add guanciale and sauté until barely beginning to brown. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute.
2. Break up the tomatoes and add to the skillet along with the chili flakes. Cook in an uncovered pan at a low simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. (The sauce may have enough saltiness on it's own just from the guanciale.)
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the bucatini and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and transfer to the skillet, along with the cheese, and toss together until the pasta is well-coated. Serve with additional cheese on the side if desired. Serves 4 - 6.