Spaghetti all’amarticiana is by far my favorite pasta of all time. It just doesn’t get any better than pork, tomato, red pepper flakes, garlic, and pecorino cheese. They are just some of the best things on Earth, and they blend together beautifully in this delectable sauce.
The first time I had all’amatriciana (ama-tree-chi-ana) it was kind of by accident. I was a vegetarian living in Florence (big mistake, I know) and I ordered this pasta, not reading all of the ingredients listed. It tasted like heaven, and I snarfed down the entire bowl. When I got home, I looked up the sauce name and found out it had either guanciale (cured pork cheek) or pancetta in it!!! I was not surprised because it had tasted a little too good to be true. There is something that pork adds to a dish that nothing else can. When I stopped being a vegetarian, I immediately started trying to recreate this sauce. This one may never be as amazing as the one I tasted in Ristorante Natalino, but it’s as close as I will ever get, and I am satisfied with that 🙂
Spaghetti all’amatriciana is super easy to whip up, because it only has a few ingredients and takes under 15 minutes from start to finish.
Start by slicing 8 strips of bacon into lardons or chunks and place them in a pan on the stove.
While they are cooking up, chop up an onion and 3-4 cloves of garlic.
When the bacon is nice and crispy add in the onions and garlic. You could strain off some of the grease, but let’s face it, it just wouldn’t be as good if we played it like that.
Toss in the 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes at this point too, so they will start to release their goodness.
Then add the tomatoes. Now, sometimes I use whole, peeled tomatoes, other times I use tomato puree or sauce. You can’t really go wrong, but my favorite kind are the Pomi boxed tomatoes. The boxed San Marzano tomatoes are also amazing. You need to add about 2 cups (16 ounces) of tomato.
Let it cook down for about 5-6 minutes to mellow out the tomatoes. Turn it on low for this part.
Grate up a bunch of Pecorino Romano cheese. It’s much saltier and sharper than parmesan and really accents this sauce well. Undercook your pasta by about a minute and dump it into the sauce with a little bit of the pasta water. Stir it and let the pasta get to know the sauce. Serve in the largest bowl you have topped with a mound of the Pecorino cheese. Voila, heaven. Printable is below!!
- 1 lb. spaghetti (Delvedere brand is superb)
- 8 slices of thick cut bacon (or pancetta or guanciale)
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 16 ounces (2 cups) of chopped tomatoes or tomato puree
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
- salt to taste
- 1.Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. Undercook by about one minute, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
- 2. Cook the bacon in a pan over medium on the stove until slightly crisp. Add in the onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper until onions are soft.
- 3. Add the tomatoes into the sauce and cook for about 5-6 minutes.
- 4. Add pasta and pasta water. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Top with Pecorino cheese and serve.