What do you cook when you're trying out a new stove? Why, pasta of course. The sauce needs a nice slow simmer and the pasta itself - well a true test of the BTU's of your range for sure must be the length of time it takes to boil a big pot of water. Last night our new investment got a work out just ahead of what will be a marathon cookin' day today.
Pasta Amatriciana is a "bold peasanty sauce loaded with the sweetness of coarsely chopped onion and the smokiness of Canadian bacon" - so says The Silver Palate Goodtimes Cookbook. They're right - it is but in our case the bacon was just regular pepper cured side bacon that I sauteed till it was cooked but not crisp, then removed from the pan and added onion and garlic. After it had softened over a medium heat (which on a 17,500 BTU burner, doesn't take all that long, but sure as heck takes some watchin'), I added some canned as well as fresh tomatoes and a HUGE splash of Marsala wine, as I didn't have the red wine that the recipe called for. Hey Marsala's kind of red and honestly, we love the stuff. Along with white vermouth, I always have a bottle of it in the cabinet where it safely hangs out until I need it for cooking. The red wine thief isn't crazy about just drinking the stuff, so I'm pretty safe not having it under lock and key.
The sauce was moved to the 5,000 BTU burner at the back of the stove - can you tell I'm braggin now???? - and simmered until it had reduced nicely and taken on a rich red color. Meanwhile it took just a tad over 10 minutes to boil a huge pot of water for the pasta - 10 minutes folks for COLD water to reach a rolling boil. Ten minutes - not 25 to 30. Ya' think I was bragging before - what do ya' think of me now?
This sauce is easy to put together and makes tremendous use of items most of us regularly have in our pantry. Served along side a mixed green salad, dinner was wonderful - made even better by the fact that the big guy cleaned up the kitchen after. Reluctantly, but he did it! I figured he needed to burn off some of the calories from the 3 bowls of pasta he ate - it's his new favorite. Now that I've got the cookin' down pat, I really need to work on the portions, don't I?
Here's my version of the recipe. Download Penne with Amatriciana Sauce When ya think about it, this would be a great way to use up some of that leftover Christmas ham now wouldn't it?