One can never go wrong with a pasta recipe from Mario Batali. I have a not-so-secret crush on this larger-than-life red-headed italian chef. In fact, I even high-fived him once! Score. So yesterday, when I was scouring through recipes attempting to come up with a satisfying, not-uber healthy dinner, I knew I could turn to Mario Batali for something to spark my interest.
After I settled on this recipe I decided I needed to add something to make it just a tad more indulgent – burrata. From the outside, burrata appears to be your typical ball of fresh mozzarella, but it’s one on the inside that makes it special. It’s filled with mozzarella cream mixture that’s soft and creamy and heavenly. A perfect addition to this pasta. Or vegetables. Or tomatoes. Pretty much anything.
Spaghetti All’Amatriciana with Burata (A Mario Batali Recipe)
¾ pound pancetta, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves
1 red onion, halved and sliced ½-inch thick
1 ½ teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups basic tomato sauce
1 pound bucatini
1 bunch of basil, leaves only
Pecorino Romano, for grating
Burrata, for topping – optional
1. Being 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt.
2. Place the guanciale slices in a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan in a single layer and cook over medium-low heat until most of the fat has been rendered from the meat, turning occasionally. Remove the meat to a plate lined with paper towels and discard half the fat, leaving enough to coat the garlic, onion and red pepper flakes. Return the guanciale to the pan with the vegetables, and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the onions, garlic and guanciale are light golden brown. Season with salt and pepper, add the tomato sauce, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Cook the bucatini in the boiling water according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the simmering sauce. Add the parsley leaves, increase the heat to high and toss to coat. Divide the pasta among four warmed pasta bowls. Top with freshly grated Pecorino cheese and serve immediately.
Mario Batali’s Basic Tomato Sauce
Makes 4 cups
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Salt, to taste
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot, and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.