It was another "Cooking with Michael" day at Quail Hollow. Michael Chiarello is one of my favorite Food Network stars. He creates a menu on each show and uses ingredients easily found in a regular grocery store. In It's All Here, Michael creates a wonderful meal with pantry items. I decide to check out the recipes and prepare his Spaghetti all'Amatriciana and Whole Leaf Caesar Salad for our dinner. Now I'm sure my pantry is quite different from Michael's, but surprisingly, I had most of the ingredients. The tomato puree was in the freezer from last year's harvest and the parsley and basil were from our garden. I did buy the pancetta and put it in the freezer to harden so it could be easily sliced. There was even a box of bucatini from a trip to the Dekalb Farmer's Market.
This menu was a success. Kenny's comment was "Wow!" which translates to "you can make this again." I will definitely do this again, but next time I am going to use fresh pasta so it will soak up the goodness of the sauce.
adapted from Michael Chiarello
1/3 pound pancetta, partially frozen
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup tomato puree
3/4 pound bucatini
Freshly grated Parmesan
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
Cut the pancetta into thin slices across the grain. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for about minutes, but not crisp. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the red pepper, parsley, basil and vinegar and cook until the vinegar evaporates. Add the tomato puree and a ladle of pasta water. Simmer briefly to blend.
Add the pasta to the boiling water while preparing the sauce and cook about 8 minutes or until al dente. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan. Yield; 4 servings.