All’amatriciana

All’amatriciana

By
From
The Art Of The Larder
Photographer
Mike Lusmore

This collision of salty, spicy and sweet with pasta as catalyst originates in Rome. The trick is in managing the flavours to make an intense sauce that just coats the pasta. It wants to be not too liquid, not too dry. Guanciale is the cured jowl or cheek of pork; the fat renders in a different way from bacon and pancetta, almost melting, not so much crisping, as you cook it. If you can’t get hold of it, a piece of bacon you can cut to size or some pancetta will do well enough.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
olive oil, to cook and dress the pasta
120g guanciale or pancetta, cut in 5mm slices, then cut across into thin strips
1/2-1 teaspoon chilli flakes, to taste
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 x 400g tin of whole plum tomatoes, drained, (keep the juice for something else)
salt
freshly ground black pepper
300g rigatoni or other short pasta
80g pecorino romano cheese, freshly grated, to serve

Method

  1. Heat about 1–2 teaspoons of olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the guanciale and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the chilli flakes and stir well, then add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 8–10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, mashing them down with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 15–20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Season with salt, add the pasta and cook as per the packet instructions. Drain, reserving about 100ml of the pasta cooking water.
  3. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss together vigorously to coat. If the sauce is too thick (you want it to cling, just colouring the pasta, but not be swamped), add some of the reserved pasta cooking water.
  4. Stir in half the grated cheese and transfer the pasta to bowls, dividing the remaining cheese per bowlful.
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