bucatini all'amatriciana. Yes, I've long been a fan of this sauce, made with tomatoes, red onion, bacon and crushed red pepper. Can you blame me? Because it's pretty freaking awesome.
A few weeks ago, while perusing my Pinterest stream, I spied something truly amazing: baked eggs all'amatriciana. And I realized that I'd been missing an incredible opportunity for many, many years. After all, I love eggs - especially when run under the broiler to set the whites and leave the yolks all runny and delicious - and I really, really love bacon, tomatoes, red onion and crushed red pepper.
And so, when I grabbed some local-but-not-yet-seasonal tomatoes at the Greenmarket this weekend, I supplemented them with a few teeny red onions and made my way home to make what I suspected would be one of the best lunches I'd had in quite some time. Spoiler alert: I wasn't wrong.
Turns out these eggs are not only delicious, they're brunch-worthy. They're the food equivalent of a Bloody Mary, minus the booze: spicy, rich, bursting with umami, and loaded with hangover busting powers. And since you can make the sauce the day before, they're perfect for those mornings you know you'll need a little something extra to get moving.
If you're feeling especially sluggish, I recommend extra red pepper.
Baked Eggs All'Amatriciana
1 slice bacon, cut into batons
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced crosswise
3 plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt, to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Parmesan cheese, finely grated, to taste
Heat a saucepan over high heat. When quite hot, add the bacon and immediately turn the heat to medium. Cook until the bacon is crisp and most of the fat is rendered, stirring occasionally. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a plate, and pour off all but a very thin coating of the fat.
Return the pan to the heat and add the onion. Cook for a few minutes, until softened and just turning translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two more, then add the tomatoes and season with salt. Cook for three to five minutes, stirring constantly, until the tomatoes have melted and the sauce is becoming watery.
Add the bacon back in, along with a half teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for ten minutes or so, until the tomatoes have well and truly released their juices.
Remove the lid and allow the sauce to cook 10-15 minutes longer, until the sauce has thickened. Taste for seasoning (it should have a decent kick).
(Everything up to this point can be done up to a day before serving; let the sauce come to room temperature, cover it tightly, and stick it in the fridge. Warm it back up before moving to the next step.)
Turn on the broiler. While it warms up, spread the sauce over the bottom of a large ramekin (I use my 16 ounce models). Crack two eggs on top of the sauce, being careful not to break the yolks. Sprinkle with the cheese.
Place the dish under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the egg whites are set and firm, and the cheese is browned.
Remove the ramekin to a plate (to protect your table from the heat), sprinkle with a touch of salt and a bit more red pepper, and dig in.
Serves one as a main course.