Sometimes a girl just needs a bowl of pasta. With bacon. It was a terrible, no good, horrible, very bad day, and what could make me feel better than a bit o'bacon, dressed up in a spicy tomato sauce and then draped over long strands of hollowed-out spaghetti? Nada, folks, and so I set to it, chopping up pancetta and red onion, crushing cloves of garlic, running my knife through a can full of sloppy tomatoes. Common sense dictated a vegetable on the side, so I threw two whole artichokes in a pot of boiling water (and then melted half a stick of butter to dip their leaves in. I was feeling better already.) An episode of my new addiction and one bottle of gorgeous red wine later, and the bad day faded into a very mellow, very satisfying evening.
Perciatelli all'Amatriciana (adapted from the Gourmet cookbook)
Serves 2 (with enough sauce for lunch the next day)
1 TBSP olive oil
5 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and juice reserved, tomatoes roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb. perciatelli (also called bucatini) or spaghetti
Parmesan cheese to taste
In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add pancetta and onion and cook, stirring, until onion is golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes (if desired) and stir it around for another minute. Throw in tomatoes and juice, water, sugar and salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered until thickened, about 30 minutes. 15 minutes before the pasta sauce will be finished, put a pot of salted water on to boil and boil pasta according to package directions. Serve with a healthy grating of Parmesan cheese, kick back, and let all your woes fade away.