Monday, July 18, 2005

Dinner for Emotional Invalids

We all know what foods to make for invalids, for the sick and weak. A scrambled egg, dry toast, baked potatoes, congee, chicken soup. What is less certain is what to cook for emotional invalids, for friends that are just having a tough go at it, a bad week, or year, a rough patch. I suppose I put myself in that category now: new city, no job, long days, a little lonesome-- which direction?

When you're in this state, with an overabundance of what I like to call "invalitude," it's nice to be asked out. Your friends call and all you have to do is bring a bottle of wine. So you dress yourself up a little, take extra good care of your delicate self, and you and your bottle of wine go to Oakland for dinner.

Dinner is enough; anything is enough. But a really good dinner---well, that's something. And a really good dinner that feeds your soul and fills your stomach? Well, those are good friends. If you haven't made this recipe before (I hadn't) you should, as it will instantly become part of your repertoire. A big green salad, some red wine--let the healing begin.

Bucatini all' Amatriciana
For Six Hungry People
from Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian
2-3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 oz. pancetta, finely diced
1/2- 3/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
2 cups finely chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp. freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 cup freshly grated pecorino-romano
1 lb. bucatini (hollow spaghetti)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta, and cook until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, and set aside.
2. Increase heat to medium-high, carefully add red pepper flakes and tomatoes to hot oil in same pan, and cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens slightly, 6-8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add parmigiano-reggiano and 2 tbsp. of the pecorino-romano, and cook for a few minutes longer.
3. Meanwhile, season boiling water generously with salt, add bucatini, and cook, stirring often, until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. Transfer pasta to skillet with sauce, add 2-3 tbsp. pecorino-romano, and stir until well coated. Divide bucatini between 4 bowls, and sprinkle each with some reserved pancetta and a bit more pecorino-romano.


Scott Kirsner said...

I love any recipe with the word amatriciana in it. Even the fairly basic Pasta Amatriciana at Il Panino Express in Boston's North End. As Homer Simpson might opine: "Mmmm. Bacon."

Adriane said...

Thats funny that you bring up this recipe cause I was just looking in Chow magazine's july/august issue and they had something on Bucatini all' Amatricana as well. It sounds so yummy...*drools*