Friday, May 13, 2016

Bucatini All'Amatriciana with or without Meatballs


The first time I ever experienced Bucatini All'Amatriciana was at L'Artusi in NYC. I was smitten! I found a recipe online by Giada De Laurentiis, and I've modified it for my tastes. It's so wonderful! You can find the original recipe here.


First, make the meatballs.

Ingredients
  • 1 small (6-ounce) onion, minced
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1 large organic brown egg
  • 2 tablespoons organic ketchup
  • 3 organic garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 pound natural or organic ground turkey
  • extra virgin olive oil as needed
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine everything but the turkey. 
  2. Add the ground turkey. Using your hands, combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly.
  3. Shape the meat mixture into 3/4 inch diameter meatballs.
  4. Fry them in 1/4 inch of olive oil in a cast iron 6 quart Dutch oven, 1 minute on each side or until cooked through and browned on the outside.
  5. Remove from heat and put aside (or in fridge/freezer if you're not using them that day)
Now for the sauce.

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces natural or organic turkey bacon, diced
  • 2 organic onions, finely chopped (I prefer sweet, but you can use yellow, white, or red)
  • 4 organic garlic cloves, minced
  • A few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans of organic crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy 6 quart Dutch Oven, heat the oil over medium heat. 
  2. Add the bacon and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. 
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and reserve. 
  4. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. 
  5. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  6. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and the cooked bacon and meatballs. 
  7. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. 
  8. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assembling the pasta
  1. Bring a 6 quart pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. 
  2. Add 1 pound fresh bucatini pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally (I usually subtract a minute from the cooking instructions on the packaging). If bucatini is unavailable, substitute with another long pasta such as linguine or fettuccine.
  3. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add the meatballs and sauce. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.
  4. ENJOY!
Note
  • I try to make the meatballs and sauce a day ahead to allow all of the flavors to come to their full potential by the time I serve this dish. Yum!
  • This dish is also great without the meatballs!

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