Originally posted by meowzart
Sorry, BT. Real Italian pancetta can be from pork belly OR jowl and is processed into a roll so you get very nice layers of fat and lean necessary for a tasty carbonara. You don't get that with guanciale. It is almost all fat. And if the pancetta is slightly smoked, all the better.
However, guanciale with beans is a classic Roman dish.
I'll give you one point. I was thinking of pasta Amatriciana, not carbonara, where the traditional ingredient is guanciale but most Americans (at least the ones who don't use regular bacon) use pancetta.
But I am quite famillar with pancetta--use it all the time, buy it several times a month. I can't tell you whether jowl is ever used to make it, but I think such a thing would be rare even in Italy and I haven't been able to find any references to making it that way. Have you?
3/4 to 1 pound guanciale, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can of imported Italian tomatoes
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound bucatini pasta
1/2 cup Pecorino-Romano cheese, grated
1. Start a large pot of boiling water for the pasta.
2. In a large frying-pan over medium heat, cook guanciale until crisp and then drain on paper towels. Watch carefully as it's easy to burn the guanciale.
3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat then add the olive oil. Adjust heat to medium-high and add the onions when the oil is hot. Cook onions until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer. Add the canned tomatoes and pepper flakes and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (salt may not be needed as the guanciale is pretty salty). I sometimes add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes don't taste sweet enough.
4. Cook pasta for 10-12 minutes, or until al dente, while the sauce is simmering. Warm bowls or plates for the pasta--this dish is best eaten while piping hot.
5. Drain the pasta and then toss it with the sauce. Add the cooked guanciale and the cheese and toss again. Serve immediately in warmed bowls.