Monday, January 24, 2011

Movie Disappoints, But Pig Exceeds Expectations

I'd rather not go outside in the Winter, but yesterday I forced myself to leave the house to see a matinee on Main Street. I will not criticize The Tourist for its plot or acting. But can you believe that 90 percent of the film takes place in Venice and not once during that time is the audience allowed to vicariously enjoy an Italian meal? I was hopeful, at one point, when the heroine ordered a delicious-sounding risotto at the restaurant at the Hotel Danieli. But this scene cut to another as soon as the waiter complimented her on her choice! Oh, the disappointment.

To assuage our hunger, we decided to make some pasta after the show. Our Bridgehampton pork supply is dwindling (see the before and after photos of my freezer--will somebody please tell me what "pork stock" is?), but there was still a generous piece of my husband's home-cured bacon. He chopped it up and browned it and then built a spicy tomato sauce on top of the bacon fat. Here is the recipe:

Penne Amatriciana
Serves 4 to 6

1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
Two 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 pound penne
Parmesan cheese for serving

1. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven until crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove it to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon grease.
2. Add the onion and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and cook at a bare simmer until thickened and glossy, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Season with salt. Stir the bacon back into the pot. Cover to keep warm.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the penne until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with 1/2 cup sauce and the pasta water. Divide pasta among pasta bowls, top each portion with additional sauce, and serve with grated cheese on the side.

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