London, 16th June 2012 – This classic sauce is amongst my favourites. It is a traditional dish from my hometown, Rome. In the narrow streets of the bohemian Roman quarter, Trastevere, the air is at lunchtime filled with the aroma of Amatriciana coming from all the many lively ‘hostarie’ (traditional Roman eateries).
This simple tomato sauce has a rich and intense flavour. The main ingredient is guanciale (cured pork cheek) or pancetta (cured pork belly). You can buy these Italian ingredients in a good Italian Delicatessen like I Camisa in Soho, London (see previous post). If you cannot find these ingredients you can use a top quality thick slice of bacon.
I have used my parent’s traditional recipe for years until I developed my own version. My parents like the sauce with a sharp flavour, so they use only guanciale and tomatoes and cook it for 10-15 minutes. I prefer a more rounded flavour, so I use pancetta instead of guanciale and add water, sugar and cook it for longer. Recipe with step by step pictures
PASTA ALL’ AMATRICIANA (Italian bacon and tomato sauce)
SERVES 3, PREP 10 MINUTES, COOK 40 MINUTES
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
130 g Italian pancetta (or a top quality thick slice of bacon)
Chilli flakes to taste
½ glass of white wine
400g peeled plum tomatoes (cans)
150 ml water
¼ tsp sugar
250 g bucatini or spaghetti
Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, grated
Cut the pancetta into small and thick pieces. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the pancetta and chilli flakes. Fry over a medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes, or until the pancetta starts turning translucent.
Add the wine and cook for 1-2 minutes over high heat until most of the wine has evaporated.
Add the peeled plum tomatoes, roughly crushed. Add the water and season with sea salt and sugar.
Cover and bring the sauce to the boil, uncover the saucepan and cook over a medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 10 minutes, lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the water is completely evaporated and the sauce has thickened.
Serve sprinkled with plenty of Parmesan and Pecorino cheese.