….Or just Amatriciana if you’re so inclined. This is a simple pasta dish of tomatoes, olive oil, cheese, and pancetta. When Raul first asked me to make this dish so we could open a special bottle of Brunello, I crinkled my nose. The recipe and ingredients are quite simple, and since I like complex foods, it seemed a bit rudimentary. But when you say “I’ll cook whatever you want tonight”, and the response is something simple, you can’t really complain. Besides, sometimes all you need is just a few ingredients for a true flavor explosion, which is what I was hoping this dish would achieve.
The original motherland Italian recipe calls for guanciale, which, for lack of sugar coating, is JOWL OF PIG. You read that right. I didn’t jump for joy upon learning this bit of information but was still going to cook it because, well… just because that’s what I do.
This special Italian bacon is usually only found at specialty stores, and ours (Central Market, a.k.a. heaven) was out so we had to go for Plan B – pancetta. Like fat to the face that stuff. Oy.
And pardon the photo quality. The banana left my camera at the Halloween party so we had to make due with the phone. Serves 4.
- 1 pound thick stranded spaghetti
- 1/4 pound pancetta or guanciale, diced
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes (4-5 plum tomatos), blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
- Onion, minced
- Red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Handful of freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Cook the pasta, and heat up a bit of oil in a pan for the pancetta.
Toss the pancetta in the heated pan and cook until it browns on all sides. Remove cooked bits with a spoon onto a paper towel and keep warm.
Add the onion to the pancetta grease in the pan, together with the pepper flakes, and when it begins to color add the tomato pieces, which should be well drained.