I don’t want to start any fights, so up front just let me say that this is NOT the traditional way they make Amatriciana sauce in the town of Amatrice or in Rome. But in Italy, there are as many versions of recipes as there are cooks.If you go and look back at the original recipe, Alla Gricia, no tomato was used. You can still order this in a restaurant in Rome.
There are constant fights about using onions or garlic. I find recipes change every few kilometers.
I stay with what I know as the classic but I add a little garlic. The trinity of garlic, olive oil and chili are popular as a base in almost every kitchen. In Romanesco, Aio Oio for the most simple basic pasta sauce in life.
In Rome, the true recipe uses guanciale, cured pork jowl, I don’t always have access to that, so use pancetta.
This dish has deep memories for me. It is the first dish I cooked for the man I am now married to. He took one bite, pushed the dish away and walked out of the room without saying a word.
THAT is how I learned to cook it correctly for Italians.
La mia Amatriciana
and my husband’s
3 ounces Pancetta sliced into thin pieces
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 tiny chili peppers ( or what you use add as much as you like)
1 small can of whole tomatoes ( i adore the REAL San Marzano, they cook faster and have a fabulous flavor)
Extra virgin olive oil Q.B ( quanta basta– just enough)
80-100 grams/ up to 3 ounces/ of spaghetti or bucatini per person
First thing- saute the pancetta pieces in a pan, you probably don’t need to add oil as they are fatty, but you can add a tiny bit.
When the pancetta is crispy, remove from the pan.
I throw away that fat and then cover the bottom of the pan with extra virgin olive oil.
Add the garlic and chili and turn on the heat.
The garlic takes longer to cook this way and you avoid burning it.
Add the can of the tomatoes when the garlic just starts to get golden.
Take the pan off the heat first– so you don’t get splashed when the tomato splatters.
Crush the tomatoes with the back of a fork and let cook down.
Put the pasta on to cook.
Salt the pasta water.
When the pasta is almost done, leave it a little al dente, drain and add to the tomato sauce.
Add the pancetta now too, this way it stays crisp!
(This is why I almost didn’t get married, I left the pancetta in the pan the whole time the sauce was cooking down).
The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce and absorb the sauce into the pasta, giving it more flavor.
Use Pecorino Romano cheese grated on top.
If you want the version from the town of Amatrice, click here..
update, the town of Amatrice was just destroyed by an earthquake, August 2016
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