Before I started this blog, I wrote a food blog where I took a picture of everything I ate and occasionally posted recipes. I hated it. It took a lot of convincing from my sister to give blogging another shot because I didn’t like blogging on my food blog AT ALL. Turns out, I have more of a passion for reading and it makes this blog a joy to write on. However, I do like cooking, so I wanted to do a feature this month of some cookbooks that I cook from over and over again. And hey, cookbooks are books, right?
This week’s cookbook is Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis.
I came across Giada’s show on the Food Network and my first thought was, “Whatever that beautiful skinny woman is eating, I WANT TO EAT IT.” And oh my goodness do I love pasta. This book is full to the brim with pasta plus a lot of other authentic Italian dishes. The cool thing about Giada is that she is Italian and she knows her Italian stuff. She takes traditional dishes and adds shortcuts so they don’t take all day to make. Every recipe I’ve made in this book has been delicious and easy. This is the cookbook I pull out when a) I want to make tons of food and b) I want to impress people. When I have people over for dinner, they usually call the recipes I make from this book “gourmet.” I know I use this book a lot because all the pages are covered in food. If I can only pick one recipe to share with you, it’s going to be Salsa All’amatriciana because that page is the dirtiest of them all. :D
This is Rome’s most famous pasta sauce, but the recipe actually originated in a town outside of Rome called Amatrice. This sauce is bold and perfectly balanced with tangy tomatoes, sweet onion, and the salty meatiness of pancetta. My parents would make it for dinner on weeknights when they either didn’t have a lot of time to cook or when my mom hadn’t gone to the grocery store. In the time it takes to boil the water, the sauce is finished. Perfect with bucatini, perciatelli, or spaghetti.
Makes about 1 quart; serves over a pound of pasta as a main course.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, diced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato puree, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)