First thing to mention is that I in no way claim that this is the traditional or proper recipe or method to make All'Amatricana, but it is hella tasty!
I first had this dish in Rome in a small family-run restaurant, and have been trying to recreate it at home ever since. This recipe is not true to tradition mostly because it should call for pecorino cheese, but that is difficult to source in rural Ireland (can we fix this please?!). Cheese aside, my version contains most of the traditional ingredients, plus some extras!
My not traditional Amatricana is full of flavour and one of my go-to comfort dinners, and best of all it can be on the table in around 20 minutes!
Ingredients (serves 4):
Pasta of choice (300-350g dried weight)- Spaghetti is recommended, but any will do!
150g pancetta or sliced bacon rashers.
1 onion, finely diced.
100-150g cherry tomatoes, quartered.
1 tin of chopped tomatoes.
1 tsp garlic granules or 2 cloves of garlic, crushed.
1/2 tsp. chili flakes.
1 tsp dried basil.
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary.
A small glass of white wine (optional).
Get the kettle boiled and get it in a pot with your pasta. Cook per the packet, and remember to add some salt to the boiling water!
Meanwhile, get a frying pan on to a medium-high heat with no oil. When the pan in hot, add the pancetta and cook for 5-8 minutes until it is cooked through. Cook for longer if you wish to crisp it up more.
Remove the pancetta from the pan, leaving the fat in the pan.
In the same pan, add the diced onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft and translucent.
Add in the cherry tomatoes, garlic, chili, basil and rosemary. Fry for 3-4 minutes until fragrant.
If you are using the wine, add this now and cook until the volume reduces by about half.
Pour in the can of tomatoes and season with salt, black pepper and a pinch of sugar.
Return the bacon to the pan and leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
When the pasta is cooked, DO NOT DRAIN! Transfer the pasta straight from the water to the sauce- a tongs is easiest to use for this. Give the pasta a good mix through the sauce.
Serve up the pasta topped with lashings of grated parmeasan.
If you prefer a smoother sauce, omit the cherry tomatoes and use passata instead of tinned tomatoes.
I find that 1/2 tsp of chili is just right for my tastes, but please add less or more to suit your own preferences.
The white wine adds great flavour, but isn't traditional or necessary for the dish- I use some if I have an open bottle but don't bother if I haven't.
The reason for not draining the pasta is because the water pasta cooks in is full of starch (that is why is looks creamy/white). This starchy water gives sauces a glossy finish and helps the sauce to coat the pasta beautifully. If you want to, you can even add a little extra pasta water to the dish to make it more saucy! (P.S. This tip works with all pasta dishes!).
You can add extra veggies to this dish if you like- mushrooms and peppers would be best- but Italians tend to have salad on the side instead!
Let me know what you think of my take on Amatricana and tag me if you try it!
Lots of love,
Little O x