I’ve been a little slow getting Christmas decorating underway. When the mommies came for dinner last week, I was still only partially decorated, with storage bins in the music room; I did manage to decorate most of the mantel and the dining room since that’s where we would be for the evening.
Yesterday Kurt suggested we get the tree– I have to have a live one. We used to have a fake one, but it got scraggly and then that’s when I made the move to a real tree. We always had a real tree growing up. Kurt still lobbies for one of those pre-lit trees that open like an umbrella, but I just can’t do it. So yesterday, I made a quick pasta meal– bucatini all-amatriciana. Bucatini is long like spaghetti, but has a hole running through the middle. It’s heftier than spaghetti and is perfect for the amatriciana sauce.
The sauce consists of exactly five ingredients (excluding the bucatini):
- 1 slice of pancetta, 1/2 inch thick
- 1 small onion
- 1/2 to 1 c grated parmesan
- 1 c chopped or diced or crushed tomatoes (Ive done it with whatever kind of canned tomato was lurking in my pantry, but my fave is Pomi chopped)
- 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
Dice the pancetta into 1/2 chunks. Chop the onion. Open the can or carton of tomatoes.
Coat the bottom of a large saute pan (you’ll add the pasta later) with some olive oil. Cook the onion on medium til it’s golden.
Add the pancetta chunks:
Cook together a few minutes to warm the pancetta (you don’t want to brown the meat):
Add the tomatoes:
Let the sauce simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes. During this time cook 3/4 pound of bucatini and grate the parmesan. After 20 minutes, the sauce will look like this:
Mix in the parmesan and pasta. Sprinkle on the pepper flakes and toss well.
Notice that there is not much sauce; unlike Americans who smother their pasta with sauce, Italians do not– sauce is more like a condiment to enhance the flavor of the pasta.
We did find a tree yesterday; I was surprised to see how busy it was at the tree lot, given how late in the season it is. Doubly surprised at how quickly Kurt and I agreed on a tree (then again, it was REALLY COLD yesterday)! The tree man said we were lucky to have come yesterday because he said it’s only going to get worse this weekend. Guess we’re not the only procrastinators in town…
I didn’t bake or make any kind of Christmas goodie today. All I did was put up decorations; since I had to get up on a step-stool and I’m afraid of heights, even if only 3 feet off the ground, it took me a LONG time to finish the rest of the house. Nevertheless, I was spurred to complete everything with the incentive we’d order Chinese, make hot chocolate and tea, and do the tree this evening– the finale to holiday decorating!!!! We just finished putting up the last glass ball; Ken divided his time between playing Christmas carols on his violin and pulling out the next set of ornaments to hang. Now to get back to baking…