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Rustic Italian (Williams-Sonoma): Simple, Authentic Recipes for Everyday Cooking Hardcover – December 6, 2011
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About the Author
Domenica Marchetti is the author of six books on Italian cooking. Her recipes and articles on Italian home cooking have been widely published in national publications including Cooking Light, Fine Cooking, Food and Wine, Health, the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post; and online at Leite’s Culinaria, NPR Kitchen Window, and Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchen. She is also the co-founder of American Food Roots, an online publication that tells America’s food stories and explores why we eat what we eat. Read more about her at domenicacooks.com.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Bucatini with Caramelized Onions & Pancetta
1⁄2 lb (250 g) pancetta, cut into 1⁄4-inch (6-mm) dice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
21⁄2 lb (1.25 kg) red or yellow onions, or a mix of both, halved and very thinly sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb (500 g) dried bucatini or perciatelli
1⁄2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) dry white wine
1⁄2 cup (2 oz/60 g) freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for serving
In a large frying pan over medium-low heat, sauté the pancetta until lightly crisped and a little of the fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Set aside.
Add the olive oil to the pan and pile in the onions. Using tongs or a wooden spoon, gently toss the onions to coat them as much as you can with the fat. Cover the pan and cook, still over medium-low heat, until the onions are well wilted, 15–20 minutes. Add the oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and a generous grinding of pepper and cook, uncovered, until golden brown, creamy, and greatly reduced in volume, about 30 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent scorching.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the bucatini, stir, and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes or according to the package directions. Drain, reserving about 1⁄2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) of the cooking water.
Raise the heat under the onions to medium-high, pour in the wine, and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Let it bubble for a minute, then add the reserved pancetta. Transfer the pasta to the pan and toss gently to combine. Add a splash or two of the pasta-cooking water to loosen the sauce, if needed. Sprinkle in the cheese and toss again. Divide among 4 shallow bowls and serve, passing additional cheese at the table.
WINE SUGGESTION: PECORINO, A SOFT WHITE FROM ABRUZZO OR LE MARCHE --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Both of my parents were from Italy, in fact, they are from the same Region as the author's roots (Abruzzo), and I can identify with most of her "dishes" from that Region and others. I have more Italian cookbooks than I care to admit to, but I was interested in reading about what the author has done with what she knows about the traditional recipes that I might not - and what she does with them, that I might learn from. In this "Rustic Italian ..." , Domenica has taken the traditional recipes, and shares what she has done with them in her own kitchen, as cooks everywhere have done after years of cooking in their own kitchens.
Let me start with the "positives" in my review: Domenica's recipes attest to her Italian roots and are well worth having available in ones "Italian" collection --- and, what I consider a bonus, many of the recipes are accompanied by lovely pictures of the finished dish as it would appear at your table (which tends to be very helpful for those who are not familiar with this kind of cooking). Now for a slight "negative" in my review: The "category" pages are done in various colors --- the title of the recipe is printed in the same color as the page itself, which tends to cause the title to "melt" into the page itself, especially with the "Ochre on Ochre" - black print would have been easier to read. Also, the print in the list of ingredients is the smallest I have seen in any of my cookbooks --- and that is true, also, of the print of the recipe itself. I use my open cookbook when following a new recipe and, this is not easy with print this small. That said, this is a very good cookbook and one that I'm sure will be used and appreciated by many - I, for one, will buy this cookbook for gifting.