Serious Eats: Recipes
Dinner Tonight: Pasta with Onion, Bacon, and Tomato (Pasta All'Amatriciana)
This is both one of the most basic pasta dishes, and one of my favorites. Instead of simmering tomato sauce for hours on end, this can be thrown together in a matter of minutes. It's so good, we've actually already written about it before, so why the repeat?
Well, I've never seen a version of this dish like the one I found in Lidia Bastianich's Lidia Italy. It's apparently the most traditional version I've tried, for whatever that's worth. Plus it's delicious.
Instead of simply sauteing the onion in olive oil or bacon fat, the onions are first softened in water, which eventually evaporates. Bastianich claims that this step is "said to make the onions sweeter." I have no clue whether that is scientifically true (Kenji?), but there is no knocking the results here.
This dish isn't just a vehicle for bacon; it celebrates the role of onions. They turn a rich golden brown, and help add another layer of flavor to the sauce.