Bucatini with Caramelized Onions & Pancetta
1⁄2 lb (250 g) pancetta, cut into 1⁄4-inch (6-mm) dice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
21⁄2 lb (1.25 kg) red or yellow onions, or a mix of both, halved and very thinly sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb (500 g) dried bucatini or perciatelli
1⁄2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) dry white wine
1⁄2 cup (2 oz/60 g) freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for serving
In a large frying pan over medium-low heat, sauté the pancetta until lightly crisped and a little of the fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Set aside.
Add the olive oil to the pan and pile in the onions. Using tongs or a wooden spoon, gently toss the onions to coat them as much as you can with the fat. Cover the pan and cook, still over medium-low heat, until the onions are well wilted, 15–20 minutes. Add the oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and a generous grinding of pepper and cook, uncovered, until golden brown, creamy, and greatly reduced in volume, about 30 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent scorching.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the bucatini, stir, and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes or according to the package directions. Drain, reserving about 1⁄2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) of the cooking water.
Raise the heat under the onions to medium-high, pour in the wine, and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Let it bubble for a minute, then add the reserved pancetta. Transfer the pasta to the pan and toss gently to combine. Add a splash or two of the pasta-cooking water to loosen the sauce, if needed. Sprinkle in the cheese and toss again. Divide among 4 shallow bowls and serve, passing additional cheese at the table.
WINE SUGGESTION: PECORINO, A SOFT WHITE FROM ABRUZZO OR LE MARCHE