Iowa City Amatriciana

Every time I visit my Mom and sister in Iowa City, I’m asked to make a batch of “bacon sauce.” This time I had been off the plane a mere 2 hours before I got the request! Making any dish outside your own environment requires patience and ingenuity. Shopping can also be a challenge because ingredients you are accustomed to using may not be available in different regions of the U.S. With all this in mind we headed to the New Pioneer Food Co-op for the makings:

10-12 oz. of uncured bacon
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 28-oz. canned organic plum tomatoes (crushed or diced)
2 28-oz. canned fire-roasted organic tomatoes (crushed or diced)
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½-2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon oregano
3 Parmesan/Romano cheese rinds (or ½ cup grated)

Cook bacon until crisp (baked or fried,) set aside to cool reserving drippings in the pan. In a saucepan, lightly brown garlic in olive oil. Turn down heat and add canned tomatoes to garlic along with salt, pepper, sugar, oregano and stir together. Heat tomato sauce until just boiling and turn down to simmer. Chop cooled bacon into ¼” pieces and add to sauce. Add bacon pan drippings as desired (I usually add about ¼ cup.) Add cheese rinds to the sauce and allow to simmer for 30 minutes to one hour. Turn sauce off and cool fully. Letting the sauce cool allows the flavors to meld. Bring the sauce back up to heat before serving. To serve, place cooked pasta of your choice in a large serving bowl and add 2 to 3 cups of sauce stirring to coat and set let stand for 5 minutes. Serve plates in bowls with additional sauce.