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