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Bobby Flay, host of Discovery Plus' "Bobby + Giada In Italy" and Food Network's "Beat Bobby Flay", shares his recipe for a classic Italian pasta—made with good ol' American bacon.
For another Italian dish from this episode, check out Rach's meatless twist on Tuscan Ragu with Pici, and for more recipes from Bobby, check out his gluten-free Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi and Seared Sea Scallops with Avocado Corn Relish on Crispy Flour Tortillas.
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons (¼-inch-thick by 1-inch-long)
- 1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed into a fine paste using the back of a chef's knife and ¼ teaspoon salt
- Two 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes with their juices
- Pinch granulated sugar
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound bucatini pasta
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 10 basil leaves, very thinly sliced
- Olive oil, for drizzling
Place the bacon in a large dutch oven over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve the bacon fat in the dutch oven for the sauce.
Add the onion to the reserved bacon fat and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the pasted garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the tomatoes and their juices. Add a pinch of sugar and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the tomatoes soften and start to break down, about 20 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes into a coarse puree. Add the parsley and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
While the sauce cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta and cook until slightly under al dente, about 7 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
Add the cooked pasta directly to the sauce and toss to coat with the sauce. Add some of the cheese and a splash of the reserved pasta water, if needed. Stir in the butter and basil until combined.
Transfer the pasta to bowls and sprinkle some of the reserved pieces of cooked bacon on top of the pasta. Garnish with additional cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.