Think of bucatini as slightly fatter than spaghetti, but with a tunnel through the center. I don’t encounter it often enough, but the Hy-Vee on West Broadway has been carrying an exellent brand recently. It comes in enormous, two-foot cellophane packages and can be found in the same aisle as the rest of the dried pasta. But this stuff – Maestri Pastai, imported from Italy – is outstanding.
Bucatini’s tubular shape lends itself to creamy, bacony sauces, so in a hurry one day last week we whipped up some carbonara. If there’s a dish with a greater return on a limited investment I don’t know what it is.
Simply sautee some bacon and remove, then add sliced shallots (and any shredded greens you might have on hand, like mustards, as in the photo below) and sautee until tender. Boil pasta about 10 minutes, but drain just before al dente (keep some pasta water on hand to loosen the “sauce,” if needed).
Add pasta to the pan with shallots, then add pepper and bacon and toss to coat. Off heat, add a beaten egg or two (depending on how much pasta you’re making) and stir quickly to mix. Serve with graded parmesan. The kids would eat this everyday – and truth be told, so would I.