The original plan was to make quail Saturday night, but after checking the contents of the freezer on Friday, and only finding two birds, more were ordered for delivery Tuesday, and a new plan was made. As usual, when in doubt, make soup or pasta. Soup was the night before, so pasta was the winner. Mom wanted Amatriciana, and since we had (almost) everything on hand, I went with that. Normally, you should have pancetta for this, but we had bacon, and that is a fine substitute. A lot of recipes call for Bucatini pasta, but spaghetti works just as well, and that’s what we had.
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb pancetta (or bacon), sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes, put through a food mill
Salt and pepper to taste
300 grams (about 10.5 oz) spaghetti (or bucatini)
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes, till it’s just beginning to brown.
- Add onion and garlic and cook till soft, about 5-8 minutes
- Add red pepper flakes and cook another minute or two
- Meanwhile, put a pot of water on with plenty of salt.
- Add tomatoes and a bit of their juice, but not the whole can – reserve in case you need to add more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer while you cook the pasta.
- When your water has come to a boil, add the pasta and cook till just before al dente. About half-way through, take out some of the pasta water and add it to your sauce. The starch in the pasta water will help the sauce adhere to the pasta.
- When pasta is just before al dente, fish it out of the water with a spider of large slotted spaghetti spoon, and put in into the sauce. Continue cooking in the sauce for another minute, tossing the whole time to completely coat the spaghetti in the sauce.
- Serve with grated parmigiano reggiano to sprinkle at the table.