Wednesday, June 29, 2005


It is fortunate indeed that Mario Batali's dad makes really good salumi, including Guanciale, and that his store is walking distance from the Seattle ferry terminal. Batali's new cookbook, Molto Italiano has a recipe for Spaghetti with Onions, Garlic and Guanciale. Since Debbie happened to pick up 1/2lb of guanciale last week, I decided to make it for dinner. It's a very simple recipe: slice the guanciale (I made it about like thick-cut bacon) and dice it. Cook it slowly with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes for about 10 minutes, until it's starting to get cooked and render some fat.
Guanciale and Red Pepper Flakes
Then, add some thinly sliced garlic, and some onion sliced into half-moons about 1/4" thick. Batali calls for a small red onion. We had some fresh-dug Walla-Walla onions from the CSA last week, so I used those instead. That gets cooked for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and getting a bit brown.
Added Onions and Garlic
Meanwhile, cook a pound of spaghetti. I used Rustichella d'Abruzzo spaghetti. When it's just al dente, drain it and add it to the pan with the guanciale et. al. Add 1/2 cup graded Pecorino Romano cheese, and stir it over high heat, distributing everything evenly for about a minute, and serve garnished with a bit of parsley.
Spaghetti with Guanciale, Onions and Garlic
It was extremely good. Guanciale has a different flavor than pancetta--richer and meatier. It's also a little softer, with a different texture than pancetta.
Tonight, we couldn't figure out what to have for dinner, it was getting late, and we still had 1/2lb of Armandino Batali's pancetta in the fridge, along with some Broccoli Raab that we got from the CSA. So, I made penne (the pasta we happened to have around) with garlic, red pepper flakes, parmesan, and broccoli raab. It's basically the same as the above recipe but I added roughly-cut broccoli raab to the pan and sauteed it until it was tender, and then added the cooked penne and some parmesan cheese.
Penne with Pancetta, Garlic and Broccoli Raab
After dinner we made some gravlax with a king salmon that I bought at Pike Place today, but that's a story for another day, after it finishes curing.