Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 1 pound bucatini or thick stranded spaghetti (see note)
- 1/4 pound (100 g) pancetta or guanciale, diced (see note)
- 1 pound (400 g) ripe tomatoes (4-5 plum tomaoteos), blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
- Half an onion, minced
- A hot pepper, seeded and shredded (or leave it whole if you want to remove it)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- An abundance (a cup) of freshly grated Pecorino Romano
First, Italians traditionally make Amatriciana sauce with Guanciale, salt-cured pork jowl. It is similar to flat pancetta, but not as lean, and therefore has a richer, more voluptuous feel to it. If you can find guanciale, by all means use it, though in its absence pancetta will work. Bacon is not a good substitute, because it is smoked and also contains sugar not present in either pancetta or guanciale.
Second, Amatriciana sauce derives from a much older sauce called La Gricia, which the shepherds used to make by sautéing diced guanciale so gently as to keep it from browning, and adding freshly boiled pasta, a healthy dusting of pepper, and grated pecorino Romano. The Amatriciana sauce, with tomatoes, was initially enjoyed by the nobility, because only they could afford tomatoes.
Third, the people of Amatrice prefer to use spaghetti in preparing their signature dish. The use of bucatini is more a Roman thing. The different shapes do produce different textures, and which you prefer is up to you.