I am a pasta addict, yes I will admit to that. There are several pasta dishes I make so many times and never tired of... and one of them is Bucatini all'Amatriciana.
This is a classic pasta dish named after the town of Amatrice, somewhere east of Rome. It is very simple to make with only a handful of ingredients, and minutes to prepare. But what I love is, even though the sauce doesn't take hours to simmer, it still manages to deliver gutsy flavours. Thanks to the salty pancetta, red pepper flakes, garlic and pecorino.
Of course, you may use spaghetti or other pasta shapes that please you, but sticking with tradition I use bucatini which looks like thick spaghetti but with a hollow centre.
Next time you want something quick and easy, do give this a go.
Recipe by Michael Toa
500gr dried bucatini pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
150 gr diced pancetta
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 small red onion or shallot, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely minced or grated
1 can (400gr) chopped tomatoes
150 ml white wine
1 teaspoon caster sugar
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Pecorino cheese, freshly grated
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet that can take all the pasta later over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, stirring every now and then. Add red pepper flakes, onion and garlic; cook, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and fill the can halfway with water and add that too; along with the white wine and caster sugar. The caster sugar balances the tanginess from the tomatoes. Bring everything to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce thickens. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
In the meantime, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook just before the al dente stage for about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving a cup of the pasta cooking water.
Add drained pasta to the skillet and toss vigorously to ensure everything is coated nicely. Add a little of the pasta water if the sauce looks too dry). Stir in grated pecorino, as much as you wish; serve on a bowl and enjoy.