Adapted from Cat Cora's new cookbook, Cat Cora's Classics with a Twist.
Serves 4 to 6
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 pound smoked bacon, sliced thin and diced small
• 4 cloves garlic, minced (1 heaping tablespoon)
• 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1 cup premium canned tomato sauce
• 1 cup premium crushed tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 pound bucatini
• 4-ounce chunk percorino cheese for grating
Place eight quarts of water in a large pot, add the salt, and set over high heat.
While the water heats, in a separate 12-inch sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat just until the fat is rendered and the bacon pieces are beginning to crisp. Don't overcook them. While the bacon cooks, line a platter with paper towels. Remove the bacon from the pan and place on the prepared plate to drain.
Pour out most of the bacon fat, reserving two tablespoons, which go back into the sauté pan. Add the onions to the pan. Sauté until brown, for five to six minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté just until the garlic is lightly browned and aromatic, two minutes or less. Pour in the tomato sauce and the crushed tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low, season with oregano, salt, and pepper and let simmer until the sauce thickens and the flavors meld, 15 to 20 minutes.
While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta. Break the bucatini in half and place in the boiling water. Cook according to the package directions, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving one cup of pasta water. Put the pasta back in the pot and pour the sauce over the pasta. Toss to combine, and add a little of the reserved pasta water if the pasta isn't saucy enough. Divide the pasta among four to six warmed pasta bowls. Top with freshly grated pecorino cheese and serve immediately.
To read Regina's article about Eat, Pray, Love's relation to food, and how Cat Cora shared this recipe, click here.