Sunday, February 1, 2009

what to do with guanciale?

Working at the co-op, I spied a big package of Niman Ranch guanciale for ten bucks and bought it on a whim. Then, arriving home, I was faced with the question of what to do with it...

After casting about for suggestions, Priya and I decided to make bucatini all'amatriciana (no bucatini available, so we used perciatelli). It was very, very simple, with fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, a little bit of crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, a bunch of parm, and not much more. And it was fantastic. The guanciale flavor was amazing, so much better than bacon or pancetta would have been... I would've liked it a little saucier, but it's hard to find good tomatoes in the heart of winter...

On the side we made brussels sprouts fried in guanciale with garlic and then braised in chicken broth. They cooked a little drier than usual, but I think they were better that way--so next time I'll make them "too dry." (Priya is taking advantage of the fact that Alex shared his blog password to put her two cents in: I never liked brussels sprouts before, but these were sooooo delicious! My mouth wants more now! I am getting hungry just thinking about them.)

All that for about four bucks' worth of guanciale. So I have a big pig cheek in my freezer awaiting further usage. Maybe ravioli with guanciale and mozzarella di bufala inside, like we got at Convivio?

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