Saturday, March 3, 2012

Easy Dinner for Guests!

So obviously Julia and I have become completely reliant on for all of our culinary inspiration, so when I discovered late yesterday afternoon that I would be hosting an impromptu dinner for five, that's straight where I headed. I'm not sure that I've found a site before where the recipes have been so consistently consistent. Julia's Pasta Fazool: winner, Thursday night's Ni├žoise Salad: major winner, and now another winning recipe! That's a 3-0 batting average. Whoa! I know nothing about baseball, but I think those are strong stats.

It should also be mentioned, this fella is an incredible food photographer! He makes every dish beckon to you. "Cook me....Eat me...Love me...", they say. And then I oblige.
I've been courting many of his Italian-inspired recipes since discovering the website, frequently visiting them just to salivate over the photographs, and contemplate the deliciousness of eating such yummy things. Well, last night the opportunity presented itself and I jumped at the chance to make his Pasta Amatriciana. The recipe was a breeze, and the cook-time isn't long or requiring of much attention, so whether you're having company or just cooking for fam-a-lam, this is a great one to keep on hand. I was actually able to use guanciale since my local fancy-pants cheese store carries it (two different kinds, believe it or not!) but I'm sure that pancetta or bacon would merrily suffice if you can't be sodded to seek out the fancier pork product. 

Here's the scoop on the Pasta Amatriciana

Pasta Amatriciana

8.5 ounces (250 g) Guanciale cut into 1/4″ batons
1 medium shallot minced
2 tablespoons finely grated carrot
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
26 ounces (750 g) stewed tomatoes (preferably from San Marzano)
1 ounce (30 g) pecorino romano, finely grated
16 oz spaghetti
Seriously, the guy has a major gift for food photography. Have you ever tried to photograph your food? It usually ends up looking like worms or larva or something wretched...

Heat a saute pan until hot. Add a splash of olive oil along with the guanciale. Fry until the guanciale turns translucent and browned around the edges but do not cook until crispy like you would with bacon (you don’t want to render out all the fat). Transfer the browned guanciale to a plate and set aside.
Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil, and add the shallots, carrots and red peppers. Fry until the shallots are browned (about 3 minutes). Add the wine and continue cooking until it has completely evaporated.
Puree 3/4 of the tomatoes with juices then hand crush the rest. Add the tomatoes into the pan, turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Boil your spaghetti slightly less than what the package directions say (my pasta said 12 minutes, I cooked it for 9) as it will continue to cook after it’s added to the sauce.
Meanwhile, add the guanciale into the sauce and simmer for another 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
When the pasta is done, reserve a bit of the pasta liquid in a bowl then drain the pasta. Add the cheese to the sauce, stirring to combine, then toss the pasta with the sauce, adding in pasta liquid as needed to evenly coat the pasta.
So that's the scoop... I pretty much followed the directions verbatim, except that I used extra long fusilli in lieu of spaghetti, which was a tasty but not necessary substitution. Whatever pasta you use, it's going to be devoured... In an effort to offset the nutritional perils of the guanciale, our pasta was served along side a simple arugula salad with the same "master dressing" from Thursday night, and a side of roasted asparagus. Everyone definitely went home full and happy-- the sign of a good dinner party! 

1 comment:

  1. Yummy Food and interesting info share in the post. good job so thanks