BUCATINI ALLA AMATRICIANA
They say the bucatini amatriciana recipe (or matriciana , which means sauce from Amatrice, a tiny village 100 km off Rome) is the most famous italian recipe in the world…and one of the new pope’s favorite food.
The main ingredients are bucatini type pasta (but it would be great with rigatoni or spaghetti too), guanciale (cured pig’s cheek), onions, fresh or canned tomatoes, olive oil and pecorino (sheep cheese). As usual, the ingredients are easily available and the most you will need to do is take note to buy them when you find yourself in the ‘right’ shop.
Pasta e.g. is just to be produced in Gragnano (Neaples), possibly by the GAROFALO company (super!!), alas Barilla, De Cecco, Voiello etc just aren’t the same. 100 grams for women and 140 grams for boys, let’s say half a kilogram (1 pound) for two couples. 500 grams of cherry tomatoes (small and preferably imported Sicilian or Neapolitan, even from a tin – just as long as they’re Italian!!!) for example, those great little La Fontanella ones – they can be found in as far as Texas, yet with difficulty in Italy…. where on the other hand we find them fresh. In USA regretfully they do not have any taste… at all, so look for them as above.
What is guanciale
The crucial ingredient in this dish is guanciale, cured pig’s cheek and a common ingredient in Roman cooking. In emergency You can you can use pancetta (bacon, from the pig’s belly). Guanciale is softer and has a higher ratio of fat than pancetta, resulting in a richer sauce. So how do you make it? Simple!:
Recipe for 4 people: A) The SAUCE 1. Cut your guanciale or pancetta (1/4 of a pound) into dices pieces 1 cm. or in square stripes. Place in a large saucepan 3-4 tblsp of olive oil, heat it slowly, then add the guanciale and cook stirring often over a medium heat until golden brown (the fat is rendered out and the guanciale is crisp). All these take about 8-12 minutes Set the crispy pieces of pig ASIDE. 2. Add now some onion and saute until translucent (1 small yellow onion, finely chopped); add fresh red chilli (or chop it up if you don’t want to remove it later) and after 5 minutes add tomatoes (1 28 oz – or 500 grams can of passata or of entire tomato cherries, or 1 kg of pealed fresh ones) and let this simmer, uncovered, for 8–10 minutes (passata), for 10-12 minutes (cherry tomatoes) or for 15-20 (fresh tomatoes), stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
B) The PASTA When finished the sauce, 1. cook your pasta in a ready plenty of salted boiling water, uncovered, until it’s 3–4 minutes away from done (according to cooking instructions that should be featured on the pack, it should be not less than 13-15 minutes for a good hard flour pasta) , then drain it, quickly!, reserving a cup of cooking water. 2. add the pasta to the pan kept over a weak fire and toss to combine together with half a cup of grated cheese and the crispy pieces of pig. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes, until the pasta is al dente, (utterly important! : this means 1 or 2 minutes “undercooked” according to the TOTAL pasta time-cooking instructions) 3. carefully add and toss more reserved cooking water if necessary (if the complex is too much sticky). Transfer to hot plates, grate over some more pecorino, add a grinding of black pepper and serve it HOT.
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 45 min | Total time: 60 min
I enclose 3 photographs of 3 different cooks, as mine went lost and I’ll feature a new one asap
I Can Has Cook’s Sauce – This the best photograph among the 3 sauces, however the pasta featured looks like... chinese or japanese!!