100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes 2014-15: No. 71, Bucatini Amatriciana at Paulie's

Once again, Kaitlin Steinberg is eating her way through Houston and counting down her 100 favorite dishes as we work our way toward our annual Menu of Menus® issue and culinary extravaganza. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most delicious, most creative and, of course, most indicative of our ever-changing food scene. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that are uniquely Houstonian.

Every time I order this dish over the phone to go, I get the same question.

"Have you had this before?"

Employees at Paulie's have to ask everyone if they've tried the bucatini amatriciana in the past, because those who are new to the dish might be in for a surprise once they taste it. It's very, very spicy.

Amatriciana is a simple, classic Italian dish, and one that I crave pretty much constantly thanks to the strong flavors and near overwhelming amount of garlic in the sauce. This is not the sort of thing you want to eat before you make out with someone.

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Kaitlin Steinberg