Rigatoni all'amatriciana (rigatoni with bacon and ham)

Yield: 6 servings

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Source: The Harry's Bar Cookbook; Arrigo Cipriani; "Recipes and Reminiscences from the World-Famous Venice Bar and Restaurant"; @1991; ISBN 0-553-07030-4

Amatrice is a very small region, tucked between Lazio and Abruzzi, which is where all the best Italian chefs come from. Amatrice is also the feminine word for lover, and the dish is good enough for a woman to make for her lover. There are two schools of thought on whether to add tomatoes to this recipe. At Harry's Bar we always use a little bit of tomato sauce. Rigatoni, a hollow, curved spaghetti with ridges, goes particularly well with this flavorful sauce. SERVES 6 AS A FIRST COURSE OR 4 AS A MAIN COURSE ¼ cup olive oil (60 ml) 3 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced 1 pound lean bacon, cut into ½-inch (1½ cm) pieces (450g) 1 bay leaf 6 slices (3 to 4 ounces) smoked boiled ham cut into julienne strips (100 to 110 g) ½ cup dry white wine (125 ml) ½ teaspoon dried oregano ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes ½ cup tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes (125 ml) salt freshly ground pepper ½ cup chicken stock (page 69), if needed (125 ml) 1 pound rigatoni or mezz' rigatoni (medium-size) or spaghetti (450 g,) or 1 recipe tagliardi (page 105) 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened (15 g) ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (65 g) plus extra to pass at the table Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until golden, stirring frequently about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the bacon with a bay leaf in a separate large skillet over medium- low heat, turning it until it is browned but not crisp++about 15 minutes. Pour off the fat, add the ham, and cook for another minute. Stir in the onions and cook for another 2 or three minutes. Add the wine and stir well.

Reduce the heat to low and add the oregano, pepper flakes, tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, then cover the skillet and keep warm over low heat while you cook the pasta. If the sauce becomes too dry, stir in a little chicken stock. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt, and cook the pasta for about 10 to 13 minutes for rigatoni, 8 minutes for spaghetti, and 4 minutes for tagliardi, or until al dente. Drain well in a colander. Add the pasta, the softened butter, and the Parmesan cheese to the sauce and toss well. Transfer to a serving platter and pass around a small bowl of grated Parmesan cheese. Wine notes: Italian: Chianti- Monsanto Riserva American: Cabernet Sauvignon- B.V. Rutherford Submitted By SALLIE KREBS On 03-11-95

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