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Bucatini alla Amatriciana

Popular dish in Rome

This spicy and savory pasta is a popular dish in Rome, and comes from the nearby town of Amatrice. Bucatini (literally, "little holes") is the pasta traditionally served with this dish - a long, thin pasta that resembles hollow spaghetti, but you can use whatever kind of pasta you prefer. If you can find real Italian pancetta to use, it's much better than American bacon, which is always smoked.

2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces thick-sliced pancetta or bacon, cut into long, thin strips
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, juice retained
salt to taste
1 pound bucatini (also known as perciatelli)
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheese

While water for pasta boils, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta or bacon and garlic cloves and cook several minutes until light brown and crispy. Drain excess fat from pan, retaining about 2 tablespoons and remove garlic cloves. Add onion to skillet and sautee over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper and cook for about half a minute. Stir in tomatoes and desired amount of salt. Simmer for about 10 minutes over low heat to blend flavors. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Serve with sauce and grated cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Courtesy of Restaurants in Rome.

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