SUNDAY SUPPER: porky tomatoy cheesy follow up

I thought to give you all a follow up to our POLL on what I was to make for Sunday Supper on Sunday last.  You chose spaghetti alla carbonara.  I had some pancetta in the freezer, a gift from a reader.  And so I made the famous Roman dish and enjoyed it immensely.

I had some pancetta left, so I used it up by making bucatini all’amatriciana, another Roman dish and one by which I tend to judge Roman restaurants.  If they can’t make this one to my satisfaction, there is no reason to go back.

I cut up the pancetta, together with a very little onion.

Some hold the addition of onion in this to be tantamount to heresy.  It is not used in Amatrice itself, but it generally is in Rome.  I have never lived in Amatrice but I have lived in Rome.  I had a little bit of onion I wanted to use up, and … chop chop … snik snak … willy nilly… in it went.


I opened the can of San Marzano tomatoes, also a gift of one of you readers from the wish list.  Thank you thank you thank you.


I browned the pancetta and the small amount of onion together with dried hot red pepper I raised last summer, ground quite fine.   Not much peperoncino. Just a warming piquant touch.


In go the tomatoes.


I set it all to reduce and intensify on a slow heat and, in the meantime, enjoyed some evening on the deck and took care of vespers.

Bucatini time.


Actually these are De Ceccho Perciatelli, also a gift of one of you readers.  The sunlight was so lovely, I took the photo out of doors.  I was out of the Rustichella Bucatini, also a gift of readers, because I had used it up for a meeting of our literary group, lately reading Gerard Manley Hopkins.


Assembled with grated pecorino cheese, and ground black pepper.


There was a bottle of vernaccia that simply had to be used up.  I would have preferred a white from Lazio, but, alas, there was none.  The vernaccia, Tuscan interloper as it was, did the job, thus creating a culinary echo of the old adage la lingua toscana nella bocca romana.

Some of you readers were nearly entirely responsible for this supper.  Most of the items came from my wish list and your voting in the poll drove me to get out the pancetta and use it up.  I am, as always, grateful to those who have sent things and wish their angel guardians well on their behalf.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Incaelo says:

    Looks delicious, Father

    I made your spaghetti alla carbonara (or something that was supposed to resemble it) for dinner tonight, and I enjoyed it quite a lot. It was rather filling, which may be because I used a bacon from my neck of the woods instead of pancetta, but the combination of the sauce and the ground pepper with the bacon and pasta was great.

  2. Incaelo: I am glad you gave it a try! These things, simple as they are, give real pleasure and should be passed along.

  3. Mother says:

    After reading this post, Fr., I’ve concluded that I enjoyed it so much because it is an essay on the method of effectively feeding a holy priest. Now THAT’S a turn of events! [Let’s see it as a collective effort!]

  4. pm125 says:

    Wonder what would happen with one green pepper cut double the onion size going in with the onions with a little oil. And a crusty bread with celery stalk to dip in oil.
    Pictures here need to form a cookbook – so appetizing.

  5. James Joseph says:

    Onion is heresy but not as bad a heresy as mixing onion and garlic. [It isn’t heresy in Rome. And Rome counts for me, if not for you. o{]:¬) ]

    Pancetta could become an occasion of sin, but I would only deem it so because guanciale is not widely available.

    It was only yesterday that I had my hands inside the neck and throat of dead pig. While holding the tongue back with one hand I was able to scrap my knife around and save the cheeks. If only I could convince the Mormons in our custom meatshop here to properly dry cure with salt, Frascatti, and black pepper. They usually throw them into the grinder, driving me nuts in the process.

  6. Liz says:

    Oh, the irony…Father… [? No. This was pretty serious business.]

  7. benedetta says:

    I like the pasta posts!

  8. If only I didn’t have to watch sodium. Oh my, that looks so good.

  9. RichR says:

    And the swine looketh down from swine Heaven and doth say, “Yea, this meal doth glorify the Lord. I am thus proud to have been slaughtered for this meal the confessor eateth.”

    [Nice sentiment. But there is no “swine heaven”… well… Congress perhaps. But I think that we can say that if any aspect of God’s will for our happiness in heaven depends on there being pancetta in heaven, then we will keep some pigs around.]

  10. Diane: Alas, I don’t know a way to do low sodium bucatini all’amatriciana.

  11. Supertradmum says:

    cookbook with comments on confession et al please

  12. Liz says:

    I guess you will see what I mean in a few days…

  13. JonPatrick says:

    If mixing onion and garlic is a heresy, then I am the culinary equivalent of an Albigensian I guess :-)

    About the only thing I make that doesn’t have those 2 ingredients is Blueberry or Rhubarb Pie.

  14. albizzi says:

    … Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
    – Father, forgive me for I have sinned.
    – Which sin?
    – Gluttony
    – Who induced you into temptation?
    – A priest.
    – ….. I know him?
    – …..
    (just joking)

  15. Legisperitus says:

    Pace Dan Quayle, I would spell “tomatoey” with an e. [And I am sure that on your blog you will do that!]

  16. virmagnussum says:

    I gave this a try. Amazing! Although I wish i had all the “right” ingredients, I made some substitutions. Key was getting the tomatoes to a pastey consistency so they would bond with the pasta. It was that last picture with the cheese and pepper that had me drooling all week. Thanks, Fr. Z!

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