This isn't your grandma's bucatini . . . unless your nonna has a Michelin-grade pasta dish up her sleeve. Kevin Adey of Faro in Brooklyn shares this recipe, inspired by his grandmother, of bucatini tossed with confit chicken, chile, basil and tons of cheese. It's a creamy and spicy pasta dish that's pure comfort during these cold winter months.
If you've never cooked anything confit before, this is the perfect place to start. After cooking the chicken low and slow in duck fat, the meat falls right off the bone—perfect for stirring into the pasta. You can also prep this dish in advance. Let the chicken cool in the fat and refrigerate it. The layer of duck fat serves as a seal, keeping out air and bacteria. When you're ready to eat, reheat the whole thing on the stovetop.
To learn more, read "Seeing Stars."
Bucatini with Chicken Confit
Recipe adapted from Kevin Adey, Faro, Brooklyn, NY
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus overnight curing
Cook Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, plus overnight curing
For the Chicken Confit:
One 3-pound chicken, quartered
2 tablespoons kosher salt
½ tablespoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups duck fat, melted
For the Bucatini:
Kosher salt, to taste
1 pound dried bucatini
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for garnish
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
1½ cups chicken stock
1½ cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish
¼ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
1. Make the chicken confit: On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss the chicken with the salt, thyme and pepper to coat. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight to cure.
2. The next day, preheat the oven to 300°. Rinse the chicken and dry well with paper towels. Then place it in a 4-quart Dutch oven. Cover the chicken with the duck fat and place the lid on the pot. Cook in the oven until extremely tender, 2½ hours.
3. Remove the chicken from the fat, reserving the fat for another use, and shred the meat, discarding the skin and bones.
4. Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until very al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup of pasta water.
5. In a large skillet, combine the oil, garlic and shallots over medium heat. Cook until the garlic and shallots begin to sizzle and soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, cheese, basil, cooked pasta, reserved pasta water and reserved chicken confit. Simmer until the pasta is tender and the sauce has slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes more.
7. Divide the pasta between plates and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and more grated cheese, then serve.