Bucatini alla Gricia (Bucatini with Guanciale)

Ever since spending time in Italy, I have found a true love for bucatini. I have written about it in other recipes, and there is a reason – it is a heavier noodle, because of the hole, and if you have a sauce, it gets caught in the middle, giving the dish more flavor. Now, this particular dish could be made with spaghetti, of course, but I just love the bucatini for something different.

I got this recipe from one of my favorite magazines – La Cucina Italiana. It was a “pasta issue” so I am sure you will be seeing some more pastas soon.

I would love to say I made this recipe with guanciale, but it is a tough find here in Cincinnati (if anyone knows where to get it, let me know!) so I substituted the good old standby – pancetta. I will admit, this is a pretty basic recipe, but is a great one if you want something a bit lighter (no heavy sauce) and something full of flavor!

BUCATINI ALLA GRICIA (BUCATINI WITH GUANCIALE)
4-6 Servings

Salt
7 ounces guanciale, cut into 1/8-inch slices (or pancetta)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 whole dried arbol chilies, crumbled, or red pepper flakes to taste
1 pound bucatini or spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut guanciale into 3/4-inch pieces.

Line a plate with paper towers. Combine guanciale and oil in a large nonstick skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer guanciale to paper towels to drain.

Add onion and chiles (red pepper flakes) to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente.

Return guanciale to skillet and stir to combine; remove from heat. When pasta is al dente, drain pasta and immediately return to pot. Add guanciale mixture, scraping skillet with a rubber spatula to add all of the pan contents to pot with the pasta. Toss to combine. Add cheese and toss once more. Serve immediately.

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