I feel like I've been in limbo for the past 2 months working feverishly at a famous cheese shop in New York through the hectic holiday season, and then a week later quickly leaving New York to make the drive to Austin.
So I haven't been cooking at all, but this week we moved into our new house (and kitchen) in Austin! The movers haven't delivered all of my cooking gear yet, so I have to keep myself in check. One of the first things I made was a simple dish that I saw Anne Burrell make on the Food Network a few months ago. Bucatini all'Amatriciana is a pasta dish comsisting of a delicious tomato sauce containing guanicale, red peper flakes, onion, and tomatoes over bucatini, a tube-like pasta similar to spaghetti but hallow in the middle.
The search for guanciale in Austin made me miss New York where I always had access to it at my job, sometimes taking the guanciale ends home for free. I settled on a slice of pancetta from Mandola's Italian Market in my new neighborhood where I also picked up some bucatini.
I have to say, subsituting pancetta for guanciale didn't make a difference. The sauce was still so savory and lucious. Growing up, I thought I didn't like tomato sauce. Now I know that I just hate jarred tomato sauces from the supermarket. They taste dull and too redolent of tomato paste. On the contrary, homemade tomato sauces often taste fresh and bright, and they don't take much work. Yes, this tomato sauce has to simmer for an hour, but I just used that time to take a long shower and clean up a little bit. And if you put in the effort to make this, please garnish with real Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano!!!