Bucatini with Pancetta, Pecorino and Pepper

"I love knowing that I have leftovers in the refrigerator," says Shelley Lindgren. She'll often make pasta during the day—like this rich, pancetta-studded bucatini that's tossed with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and Pecorino—and then reheat a big bowl of it when she comes home from work late at night.

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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings


  • 1 pound bucatini, perciatelli or thick spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/2 inch thick and cut into 1-inch-long pieces (1 cup)
  • 1 1/4 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Salt

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the pancetta pieces and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the meat is lightly browned and most of the fat is rendered, 4 to 5 minutes.

  3. Add the bucatini to the skillet and toss over moderate heat to coat with the fat and pancetta. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking water, the 1 1/4 cups of Pecorino cheese and the pepper and season with salt. Toss the pasta until the sauce becomes very thick and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes; add more of the cooking water if necessary. Serve immediately, passing additional cheese at the table.

Suggested Pairing

The rich sauce that coats this pasta pairs best with a red wine that has substantial tannins to help cut through the fat; conveniently, that describes most Southern Italian red grape varieties. Negroamaro, the main grape in Apulia's Salice Salentino wines, is a case in point.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published April 2007

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