New Year's Entertaining: Bucatini All'Ubriaco

Tonight's the night! You know, the one where we celebrate the end of the year by imbibing until we don't remember all of the terrible things that happened in the last 12 months. Ok, maybe we do other things than that, too. Like have friends and family over for dinner. I'll be doing a little bit of both.

And in my opinion, there's no better way to kill two birds with one stone than with this phenomenal (and impressive looking!) pasta dish. Bucatini All'Ubriaco. Translated from Italian, it means "Drunken Bucatini" - what makes it drunken you may ask? No, its not because the chef guzzles booze while cooking (though, tonight, that is fully acceptable and encouraged.) It's because you actually boil the pasta in WINE. WHAT? I know. Pause for effect.

The flavors in my version of this dish are sort of Carbonara inspired, with rich, salty bacon cutting through the deep sophisticated wine-infused pasta. And of course, loaded with parm. The good stuff, please. Side note- I should make clear that I am exactly zero percent Italian, though it has always been a secret wish of mine. When I was over at an Italian friend's house in high school, I complimented his mother on her phenomenal pasta dish, by saying, "well, I'm not surprised it's so good - you being Italian, and all." To which she replied, "Me? Not a drop!" I was floored. And ever since then, that has been my goal. You know, to marry an Italian, have tons of Italian kids, and have their friends mistake me for a true Italian (despite my Scandinavian heritage and name). ANYWAY. Recipe below:

To begin, combine equal parts decent red wine and salted water in a pasta pot, and bring to a boil. While that is happening, brown your bacon in a skillet. And if you're being bad like me, you'll add butter first. Because it's the holidays, and it's time to enjoy yourself. Life is for living, after all. 

Remove your browned bacon, and most of the rendered fat, while you add your Bucatini to the wine broth. Then, slice up a shallot or two, you can also use garlic here. I'm just using what I had on hand. Throw that in the bacon skillet to soften. Also, add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you're into that sort of thing. Which of course, I am.

Once your pasta is al dente and has turned a gorgeous deep purpley-brown color, drain it (reserving a bit of the starchy winey water) and add it to your skillet. Toss the pasta, and reserved water, with your bacon, a hearty - and I'm talking half a cup - sprinkle of parmesan, and if you're fancy (or just happen to have some to use up), add pine nuts and fresh parsley.

Serve with some crostini, a bright arugula salad, and obviously more parmesan. Now, sit back and enjoy the feeling of self satisfaction you have as your guests ooh and ahh at the marvelous plate of winey-pasta-goodness before them. Do give this one a try. I'm telling you, it will NOT disappoint. That's all for now. See you next year! x