When I worked at Carrabba’s in my early 20s, we served a dish called cavatappi all’amatriciana. The customers loved it. It looks like a basic tomato sauce, but it’s made with bacon and white wine. It’s a nice change from traditional marinara.
This recipe includes deglazing the pan. I’m keeping a glossary of cooking terms here. All that means is that you use an acid (usually citrus juice, alcohol, or broth) to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Deglazing adds flavor to the dish, and all the alcohol cooks out of the wine. Just make sure you leave the pan uncovered.
The whole thing takes about 30 minutes to cook, and it’s a budget-friendly meal. It’s also a good way for kids to step outside their comfort zone a little, but still familiar enough for them to try. If you are making it for kids, I’d recommend using half the amount of Calabria chili paste. And if you don’t have Calabria chili paste, you can get it here or just use red pepper flakes.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy
1 pound of thick cut bacon
1 pound of your favorite pasta shape (I used whole wheat penne)
1 medium sized onion
4 garlic cloves
1 ½ cup dry white wine
One 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3-4 tablespoons of Calabria chili paste
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Leaving the bacon stuck together, slice it into about 1/3 inch slices. Chop the onion, and chop the garlic cloves.
- In a large stock pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until it’s done, about 12-15 minutes. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta, and cook according to the package instructions.
- When the bacon is done, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the grease. You want to reserve about half of the bacon fat in the pan. The rest you can discard.
- Cook the onion in the bacon fat over medium for about 6-8 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and be sure to scrape off the bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the tomatoes and Calabria chili paste (or red pepper flakes). Add the bacon back to the pan. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened back up.
- Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce.
- Serve with black pepper, freshly grated cheese, and some fresh basil.
[originally posted 10/22/2016]
[updated recipe and pictures 4/6/2017]