Umami Recipes
Umami Recipes

Liam's Recipes

Pasta all'Amatriciana

4

servings

20 minutes

active time

30 minutes

total time

Ingredients

1 lb dried pasta (bucatini is traditional, then spaghettoni / spaghetti, but use whatever you want really)

8 oz guanciale, sliced into relatively thick lardons (they will shrink by about half during cooking)

28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes / crushed tomatoes (never blend whole peeled tomatoes, it cuts into the seeds and makes the sauce bitter)

Splash of white wine

Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (parmigiano reggiano or other hard, aged, funky and salt cheeses would work)

Directions

In a large pot of water, start heating up the water to cook the pasta.

In a large, wide, and deep pan, add the guanciale lardons to the pan. Don’t add any salt, oil, or other cooking fat, as we want the undiluted flavor of the guanciale. Turn the heat on to medium, and allow the guanciale to slowly render out its fat and then begin to caramelize and crisp up on the outside, about 8-10 minutes. Keep the guanciale and all of the fat in the pan.

Once the guanciale has rendered out its fat and is browned nicely, and you’re worried about the fond burning, add a splash of white wine to the pan and scrape with a spoon to remove any of the fond on the pan. Once the pan has been deglazed and the wine has reduced for a minute, add in the 28 oz can of tomatoes. If you’re using whole peeled tomatoes, crush them up into smaller pieces with a spoon. Allow the sauce to simmer over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.

After the initial sauce simmer, the water should be boiling. Add the dried pasta and cook until before it’s al-dente. Reserve some of the pasta water. If the sauce gets too dry before the pasta is ready, then just add a little bit of water.

Add the par cooked pasta to the simmering sauce along with some of the reserved pasta water. Here, we want to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce while also reducing the sauce to its ideal consistency, loose but sticking to the pasta (keep in mind the sauce will thicken as it cools). Add more pasta water as needed and cook the pasta in the sauce until it’s al-dente, then turn off the heat.

One at a time, add roughly 2-3 small handfuls of grated pecorino romano cheese to the pan, stirring / tossing in between handfuls to fully incorporate the cheese.

Taste for seasoning and serve hot with red pepper flakes and black pepper for people to add to their plates as they please.

Notes

A simple but delicious Italian pasta dish consisting of tomatoes, pasta, guanciale, and cheese. This recipe here has some white wine as well, which I saw someone in Amatrice do online. The dish pre 1700s didn’t contain tomatoes, resembling more of what we would call pasta alla gricia. This dish originates from the modern day Lazio region of Italy, more specifically in the mountainous province of Amatrice. The result of this history is a umami-rich well balanced sauce that really highlights the flavor of the guanciale, the cured pork cheek. This dish can be made with pancetta instead, since that’s cheaper and easier to find in America. If you can find some real guanciale, I highly recommend trying it. It has an incredible sweet cured flavor that permeates the entire dish. Like other Italian dishes, the small amount of ingredients mean that differences in ingredient quality matter more than in other dishes. This recipe is very quick to whip up, with the sauce cooking for just as long as the noodles need to boil.

4

servings

20 minutes

active time

30 minutes

total time
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