Thursday, February 17, 2011

Amazing Amatrice - Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

A tantelizing pasta dish hailing from Amatrice on the border of Lazio and Abruzzo in Italy.  If you love things like Bacon Tomato hash, the Classic BLT and/or Goulash, this pasta dish is for you.

Though classically made sans onions, a Roman affectation, the key to this dish, what separates it from all the others is the use of Guanciale.  Guanciale is cured porcine cheek, as opposed to Smoked Pork Belly (American Bacon), Dry Cured Pork Shoulder (Hot Coppa), or Dry Cured unsmoked Pork Belly (Pancetta).  And while all the meats listed can be used as substituted in a pinch, they are mere shadows of the real thing.  Guanciale has a much more intense flavor so a little goes a looooooong way.  It also lends almost a "Creamy" texture to the dish. 

Sadly, I was forced to use Hot Coppa this time...  I thought I still had some Guanciale in the refrigerator.  Alas, much to my dismay and forgetfulness, I did not.  Angels wept, as did I.   But since I already set my teeth on having all'Amatriciana for dinner I went ahead and substituted.

Traditionally, at least in Amatrice, this "Sugo" (sauce) is served over Spaghetti; while in Rome, Bucatini is the preferred pasta vehicle.  Me?  I am a Spaghetti kind of guy... But, in Roman fashion, I like a little onion in mine as well. 

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

1 TB Olive oil
1/4 cup Onion, chopped
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flake
4 oz Guanciale (though I used Hot Coppa this time)
1/2 cup White Wine
15.5 oz can Diced San Marzano Tomatoes
1/2 cup Pasta Water
1/3 cup Pecorino Romano, freshly grated

So cut the Guanciale/Hot Coppa/Pancetta/bacon into cubes.

Heat olive oil in a pan, then add the onions and saute briefly.

Sprinkle the Red Pepper flake over the Onions and saute a couple minutes more.

Add the cubed Guanciale (Hot Coppa) and saute an additional 2-3 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with White Wine.

Let the wine reduce to about 2 TB, then add the tomatoes.

Continue simmering the sauce while you drop the pasta into boiling water. (about 8 minutes)
Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water and set aside.

Drain pasta and place in a large tossing bowl.

Add 1/4 cup of the starchy water to the sauce.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss briefly.

Add the Pecorino Romano and toss again.

If the sauce is a little too stiff, add the 1/2 cup pasta water to not only wetten things up, but bind everything together as well.

Serve with extra grated Pecorino Romano.


1 comment:

Patti T. said...

That looks amazing, unfortunately living "in the sticks" the way I do none of those meats will probably be availableslyy to me.