I get a billion emails a day. It’s my own fault, I sign up for pretty much every online deal thingie and half of the food-related contests out there, and the consequence is a supremely cluttered inbox each and every morning. Most of them I delete without even looking. But I recently realized that Tasting Table has a great feature every couple of days that takes readers through chefs’ recipes, and I’ve been mining the archives for dinner ideas ever since. This BLT Bucatini from the cookbook The Glorious Pasta of Italy by Domenica Marchetti turned out to be a great summery dinner that we stretched into a couple of days' worth of good eating.
- 1½ lbs cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 oz thickly sliced bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 pound dried bucatini or spaghetti
- 8 oz arugula, tough stems discarded and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
I got a big assist from Mark on this one. We made this on a weeknight, and because the tomatoes take a couple of hours of prep time, Mark offered to get them started before I got home from work. He heated the oven to 275° and dumped the tomato halves in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. He then drizzled the tomatoes with ¼ cup olive oil, scattered garlic over the top, and seasoned with a little salt and pepper.
Into the oven the tomatoes went for a little over 2 hours, until they had shriveled up some, but were still moist. Once I got home, I chopped them up a little bit and set them aside to wait for the rest of the sauce.
The next step in the incredibly easy sauce was cookin’ up the bacon (pancetta in the original, but we’re bacon people here, yes, ma’am). I heated leftover tbsp of olive oil over medium in a large skillet, then threw the bacon in and cooked until crispy, about 8-10 minutes.
Once the bacon was ready, I stirred in the tomatoes, juice and all, and cooked it about 6-8 minutes, until warmed through. Then I took the skillet off the heat, covered it and started in on the pasta.
This recipe calls for bucatini, which is a super thick spaghetti-like pasta with a tiny hole through the center of it. How do they do that? I have no idea. What I do know is that I like bucatini, and that I was able to find it at Ralph’s. I brought a large pot of water to a rolling boil, salted it, then tossed in the bucatini and cooked it according to the package. Once it was nice and al dente, I drained it, reserving a bit of pasta water to use in the sauce.
I added the drained, still steaming hot pasta to the skillet with the bacon and tomatoes and tossed until thoroughly combined, adding a little bit of the pasta water to loosen up the sauce. Then I added in the arugula and cheese and tossed until the greens were just wilted.
This was really nice – lighter than the similar amatriciana sauce so often served with bucatini, yet still rich and bacony, with a nice pepperiness from the arugula. Spam email never tasted this good before.