Updated: Jul 6, 2020
A trio of favorite bucatini dishes
If you read my blog you know that I cannot get enough of freshly made pasta (https://www.therockettman.com/post/pasta). Virtually all of our pasta dishes begin by breaking out one of my favorite cooking implements, the Lello electric pasta maker (https://www.therockettman.com/post/favorite-cooking-implements). The process is made so simple with this device, adding only egg and flour (I prefer “00”) and after 10 minutes of mechanical kneading in a processing bowl, the dough is ready to be extracted through an extruder. My machine was accompanied by a dozen different extrusion discs that produce a variety of shapes and types, including penne (shown above), tagliatelle, linguine, pappardelle, angel hair, among others. A new favorite has become bucatini!
Our love affair with bucatini began with a dish that for me at the time was an adventure. The experiment was enabled by a tastingtable.com email circular that arrived in my inbox one day, containing a recipe for almond, dill and sardine bucatini. This recipe is reportedly inspired by a Washington, DC chef who owns a number of highly regarded restaurants in the metro DC area. The sauce was unlike any I had tried before, comprising tin sardines in tomato sauce, garlic, spicy peppers (such as Espelette, which I can never find, so I use canned chipotle peppers), dill and roasted almonds, finished off with lemon juice and zest, as well as a pinch of flaky salt.
I am generally not a fan of pasta mixed with vegetables – it reminds me of bland pasta dishes at summer picnics, like bowtie or fusilli pasta with broccoli florets. But what grabbed me about this next bucatini dish was the feta and fried lemon component. After toasting walnuts in hot oil in a skillet, remove the walnuts and cook shallots and thinly sliced lemons until caramelized (and seasoned with salt and pepper), then add capers and sizzle for a minute or so. Add to this a pound of thinly sliced zucchini (or courgette, as my English wife calls them) until browned, and then toss the entire mixture with the bucatini, finishing off with the toasted walnuts, 3 ounces crumbled feta, fresh oregano leaves, fresh dill and a drizzle of EVOO.
I regularly make fresh pesto, using basil we keep in an herb garden. It is dead simple to prepare, tossing a cup of the basil leaves into a food processor with 2 tablespoons of pine nuts and two cloves of crushed garlic and drizzling in four to six tablespoons of EVOO while chopping the dry ingredients, then separately stirring in two to three tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan. Tossing this with freshly cooked bucatini while it is still hot and adding three to four large balls of burrata cheese and a handful of fresh basil leaves makes a very rich and flavorful version of a basic pasta in pesto dish.
I am not being compensated for my mention of the Lello pasta maker. I am simply a happy client.