A few weeks ago, the NY Times food section had a feature about gaunciale. It is a bit more difficult to find than pancetta, but Savenor's gets it in every once in a while. They had about a pound left the last time I stopped by, so I decided to give it a try. If you live in the Boston area, you could also try Formaggio. If you're in Seattle, you can get it from Salumi. Salumi also ships orders, so you can just put in an order online. Since it's a cured meat, it should last for a while.
Guanciale is the featured ingredient in bucatini all'Amatraciana, a traditonal pasta dish from Amatrice, Italy, so I figured that was the best thing to try it out on. Here's the recipe I used.
First, start with a basic tomato sauce (Onions, garlic, and San Marzano tomatoes).
Cook the onions and garlic
Hand crush the tomotoes
and add them to the onions and garlic with some thyme and/or oregano. I also like to add a pinch of red pepper flakes and about a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.
While the tomato sauce is simmering, get a pot of water boiling and start preparing everything else. First cook the guanciale then add the other ingredients (see recipe).
When the water is boiling, drop the pasta and add tomato sauce to the guanciale, onions, garlic, and pepper flakes.
Once the past is al dente, drain it and add it to the pan. Toss everything together and let it finish cooking in the pan for a minute or two before serving. This lets the past soak up a lot of the flavors from the sauce. Serve and garnish with grated pecorino, parsley, and a dash of good olive oil.
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