Thursday, February 10, 2011

Amy's Buccatini All' Amatriciana

A few years back, for my Mom's Birthday we went to an Italian restaurant in the Twin Cities that was supposed to be the best.  The food was expensive, but I was not impressed.  I ordered the vegetarian special, and it was as if the person who made it did not know what they were doing, or how to cook vegetarian food.  It was flavorless...that is except for the garlic powder they had sprinkled on top of it before broiling it.  I wasn't going to say anything, but my Mom complained and we got it for free.  She loved her food on the other hand.  She had ordered a dish called Bucatini all' amatriciana, a spicy pasta with a red sauce laced with red pepper flakes and guanciale (bacon).  She kept begging me to go back to the restaurant with her so she could order this dish, but I would never go back there after my bad experience with their food.  Afterall, if you mess up vegetarian food, you really don't know how to cook in my opinion.  So, I felt bad, and I told her I would try and recreate the dish.  I nailed it spot on, and I never had to go back to the restaurant with her since she liked my version better.  It has been a few years, and I have made her the dish quite a few times, since she likes to request it.  I decided I wanted to try it...minus the guanciale of course.  I wanted to see what all the fuss was about!  So I made it exactly the same with tempeh bacon.  I have to admit, it was pretty darn good for a simple pasta dish!  The light spicyness in the bright tomato sauce, the smokyness of the bacon and textural bite to the bucatini that you don't get from other pasta, it was delicious! It was funny, she told me it was even better with the tempeh bacon than the real stuff!  I will be making this often now for myself now that I know how delcious it is, and easy to make!  Here is the recipe if you would like some!

Amy's Bucatini All' Amatriciana 
Serves 3-4

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 8 oz pkg tempeh bacon
2 shallots, minced
2 tsp (or more if desired) crushed red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp red wine (good quality, what you drink) or balsamic vinegar
1 15 oz can crushed organic tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp fennel seeds
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

sea salt
8 oz dried bucatini pasta

vegan parmesan to serve, optional

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 
To make sauce, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan.  Place tempeh bacon in pan, and brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side.  Remove from pan, and let cool slightly, then cut into small pieces.  Add shallots to the pan and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add red pepper flakes and garlic and saute until fragrant 1 minute.  Add wine to deglaze, then tomatoes, paste, herbs, and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Let simmer about 15 minutes to let flavor develop.  Meanwhile, add pasta to salted water and cook according to package directions. When pasta is finished cooking, add it to the sauce, along with tempeh bacon and cook a few minutes until bacon is heated through and pasta is coated in sauce.  Serve, along with some vegan parmesan!


Lizzy said...

My oldest loves this dish! I need to try your recipe, Amy :) Thanks!

Sandra said...

This is full of amazing to try you version b/c it sounds so good!!!

Tiffany said...

You had me at red pepper flakes and fennel seeds! Looks delish!

Lemons and Anchovies said...

This is one of my all-time favorite pasta dishes and I agree that some versions out there leave much to be desired. I've never tried making it with wine or balsamic vinegar but I imagine either one added an even more savory punch. Yum!

Happy When Not Hungry said...

I love amatriciana sauce... this looks delicious!

Kate @ said...

Oh yum, this sounds so good! I can taste the yumminess of that sauce!

Medeja said...

Oh it looks good :) rich in flavor and filling :)

Dawn said...

Amy, isn't it funny how many traditional meat dishes taste better withouth the meat? I've had that experience many times since going vegan (Dec. 2009) and my family has, too. Glad your mom agrees! This dish looks really great.