Cookbook Tester: Pasta Sfoglia


Pasta Sfoglia, the latest cookbook by Sfoglia (1402 Lexington Avenue) owners Ron and Colleen Suhanosky just came out yesterday. As the name suggests, it concerns nothing but glorious carbs–fresh, dried, and filled pasta preparations, along with risotto and other grain-based dishes.

The recipes are elegantly written–opening a can of tomatoes and squishing each one through your fingers into a sauce takes about as much time as it takes spaghetti to cook, and matters of timing such as that are written into the methods. Recipes range from project-worthy–like fazzoletti, a homemade, folded handkerchief-shaped pasta, filled with chicken liver, goat cheese, and cherry tomatoes–to the utterly simple, like spaghetti with tomato, cloves, and thyme. Most fall in that sweet spot between too time-consuming and too facile.

Last night we tested a recipe for bucatini all’Amatriciana, a dish that’s named after the town of its birth, Amatrice, northeast of Rome. The result was delicious–the tube-shaped pasta in a tangy, oniony tomato sauce enriched with bits of guanciale (cured pig jowl).

Bucatini all’Amatriciana
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Recipe from Pasta Sfoglia

1 tablespoon grape seed oil
3/4 pound guanciale, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium red onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 pound good-quality bucatini
1 (1 pound 12 ounce) can peeled, whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
grated Pecorino Romano, optional garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, combine the grape seed oil and guanciale. Cook until the guanciale has rendered its fat and is crispy and deep gold, about 6 to 8 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat.

Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally so that the onions cook evenly, until the onions are translucent and tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the vinegar.

Add the bucatini to the boiling water, and cook according the package directions.

Use your hands to squeeze and break up the tomatoes directly into the skillet. Stir in the salt and pepper. Use a wire-mesh skimmer or tongs to remove the bucatini from the pot and place them directly into the skillet with the sauce. Stir to combine.

Serve immediately with grated Pecorino Romano, if desired.