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Mario Batali's version of this traditional Roman pasta gets its flavor from guanciale (or pancetta), plus a healthy sprinkling of spicy red pepper flakes.
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces sliced guanciale or pancetta, or good American bacon, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
- 1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise, ends trimmed, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch wide slices
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup Pomì strained tomates, simmered until reduced by half
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 3 tablespoons kosher salt.
Meanwhile, combine the oil, guanciale, and onion in another large pot and cook over medium-high heat until the guanciale is lightly browned and the onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the reduced strained tomatoes and remove from heat.
Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the guanciale and stir and toss over medium heat until the pasta is well coated (add a splash or two more of the reserved pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce). Stir in the cheeses and parsley and serve immediately, with additional grated Parmigiano on the side.