Bucatini With Tomato, Pancetta and Chilies

Prep Time
Cook Time
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"This recipe is from a really interesting article about fish sauce, by Andrea Nguyen. She describes how it creates umami, or something so delicious it's addictive, and I'd have to agree. It seems a bit strange to add fish sauce to an Italian sauce, but this sounds divine! Be sure to use a good quality fish sauce (3 Crabs, Red Boat, Flying Lion, or Megachef) or you will ruin your dish. The fish sauce should not smell overly fishy or foul."

Original recipe yields 5 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (302.7 g)
  • Calories 647.1
  • Total Fat - 18.7 g
  • Saturated Fat - 5.9 g
  • Cholesterol - 42.1 mg
  • Sodium - 1206.2 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 96.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 13.8 g
  • Sugars - 3 g
  • Protein - 26.4 g
  • Calcium - 276.7 mg
  • Iron - 1.9 mg
  • Vitamin C - 13.6 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.8 mg

Step 1

Bring a large pot of boiling salted water to a boil over high heat. Add bucatini and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving a cup of cooking water, and set aside.

Step 2

Dice pancetta into pieces about the size of large peas. Set aside near stove.

Step 3

Place tomatoes in a bowl and use your hands to mash them, discarding any stem bits you find. Stir in fish sauce and set aside near pancetta.

Step 4

In a large, wide saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and smoking, about 8 minutes. Add chili flakes and mashed tomato (careful, it will sizzle!), and stir to combine.

Step 5

Raise heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.

Step 6

Lower heat slightly, taste and add salt or fish sauce for depth, or a splash of reserved cooking water to mellow the flavor to your taste.

Step 7

Add pasta and toss to coat well, adding a touch of pasta water if necessary to coat fully.

Step 8

Add 2/3 of the cheese, toss again, then divide among individual pasta bowls or plates. Top with the remaining cheese.

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.