Would you ever eat lobster without wearing a bib? Only at your shirt’s peril. But lobster is not alone. Although I can think of few bowls of anything that I like more than bucatini all’amatriciana, I find no food to be more bib-worthy. I’ve never escaped without wearing some of the accompanying sauce on my shirt. Why? Because bucatini is one thick string, and nearly impossible to twirl onto a fork without a little splash. I have found hope, however, in a recent discovery: three foot long bucatini. After the shock and awe wore off, I realized that the incredible length allowed for easy twirling with minimal splashing. So get it if you can. If not, break out the bib and enjoy.
Bucatini all’amatriciana is a favorite in Rome, but it hails from the mountain town of Amatrice in northern Lazio. There, purists would not substitute pancetta for guanciale. Nor would they add onion, though they might add a little chili pepper. The sauce is most often served with bucatini, but spaghetti or rigatoni will do.
p.s. Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the guanciale in the olive oil for a minute. Add the onions. When the onion and pancetta are golden, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper – and if using, crushed red pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced.
Cook the bucatini until al dente (about 2 minutes less than the package directions), drain, and add it to the skillet with the sauce. Cook together for one minute.
Serve with grated Pecorino.