Appetite For Instruction: Bucatini All' Amatriciana

Demonstrated by Julian Barsotti of Nonna

We here at City of Ate pride ourselves on making things easier...for us. If that means cajoling chefs into a display of finesse that fills blog space, more the better. Fortunately, we are also aware that your hectic schedule (and the fact that it is, indeed, always five o'clock somewhere) often stands in the way of attempts at self betterment, including continuing culinary education.

And so we present the first in a series of articles designed to help you fake your way to kitchen greatness without ever having to step foot in a classroom.

Appetite For Instruction (clever, no?) will appear every Thursday. Our first guest instructor is chef Julian Barsotti of Nonna. His handmade cuisine has earned praise from the likes of Bon Appétit, but we're most impressed by the fact that he cures his own pork. Yeah...Sorry, got distracted for a moment. Barsotti's mission at Nonna is to take the "philosophy of Italian cuisine and adapt it to our environment." Today, he shares the secret to Bucatini all'Amatriciana.

Impressive name aside, this staple of Roman trattorias is the sort of pinch-and-handful pasta dish a chef can toss together with one tong tied behind his back, but which often eludes the casual, Chianti-clouded home cook. Now it's yours, in five ingredients and five easy steps. No recipe required.

1. In a large saucepan, sauté two handfuls sliced, thick-cut pancetta in olive oil until browned but not crisp.

2. Add 4 cloves sliced garlic and one big pinch of red chili flakes and sauté two more minutes. Chef Barsotti: "This is a pretty aggressive sauce."

3. Add two cups or one standard can tomato puree. Simmer five minutes.

4. Add one pound of bucatini or spaghetti, cooked al dente in salted water. Toss for one minute. This step is key - chefs finish pasta and sauce together for optimum results.

5. Remove pan from heat and add two handfuls grated pecorino Romano cheese. Toss to combine. Serve and impress 2-4 friends, along with the rest of that Chianti.

And it should look like this...although maybe with a different backdrop.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lisa Petty