This is another classic pasta dish. It only uses a few ingredients. That's why I adore Italian cuisine. They use only a few great ingredients and allow them to work their magic. Take pizza for example, it is just dough, sauce and cheese. I think that also apply to pasta. I mean pasta is also just pasta, sauce and cheese.
The main ingredient of this dish is guanciale; it is an old-aged-cured pork cheek. It has loads of wonderful fat, herbs and spices. I personally do not consume pork. So, I used turkey bacon, cooked it with some herbs and spices instead. If you are using guanciale, skip the steps for the turkey bacon.
The tricky part is to cook the pasta just 1 min under al dente and finish it off with the sauce. Basically, you will be cooking the pasta and sauce at the same time. Please use pecorino romano. You can get away with parmigiano reggiano tho, but I do find that pecorino has that nutty saltiness taste which permeates the dish nicely. Bucatini is traditionally used. But I still prefer linguine as it is underused and underrated. Without much delay, let's get started with the recipe.
Turkey Bacon Sliced, 6
Dark Muscovado Sugar, 1 TBSP
Dried Thyme, 1 TSP
Fennel Seeds Powder, 1 TSP
Garlic Finely Minced, 3 Cloves
Crushed Tomatoes Canned, 14oz
Sea Salt, Pinch
Black Pepper, Pinch
Pecorino Romano Freshly Grated, A Good Handful
Cast Iron Skillet / Pan
In a skillet over medium heat, add bacon.
Saute until the bacon starts to sweat with oil.
Add in sugar, thyme, fennel and garlic.
Sauce until well combine and aromatic.
Skip the above steps if you are using guanciale.
Add in the tomatoes.
Stir to combine well.
Taste and adjust for seasonings with salt and pepper.
While the bacon or guanciale is cooking, bring a pot of 2 liters of water to a boil.
Season until the water tastes like the ocean.
Add in the pasta and cook 1 min under al dente.
At this point the sauce should be cooked.
Transfer the paste into the sauce.
If the sauce is too thick, add a couple of TBSP of pasta water to loosen it up.
Toss to combine well.
Remove from heat and finish the pasta with pecorino.
Give it a final toss to combine well.
Transfer onto serving plate.
Grate some more pecorino over the top.