Sauce No.15 for Pasta....Spaghetti all’ Amatriciana*.

This dish is very common around the mountainous parts of Lazio (Rome). The name originates from the town called Amatrice.  It is a tomato based sauce with cured pork cheek called “guanciale” in Italian. In fact this is the part of the hog required for the Spaghetti Alla Carbonara, as well. For all practical purposes I use good cured and smoked bacon. Spaghetti all’Amatriciana is not very known to foreigners, yet it is known to foreigners who lived in Italy. My version of it is as follows:

You will need: 
Serves 4 – 6
-   100 gms of spaghetti and 1 liter of boiling water per 100 gms of pasta. Salt the water to taste after boiling. Note: you can never salt the spaghetti after they are cooked and drained. They will not taste right.-
-  300 gms of good smoked bacon sliced thickly cut in 2 inch long slices.
-  500 gms carton of tomato pieces in their juice.
-  1 onion finely chopped.
-  1 clove garlic per person finely chopped.
-  2 Tbsp. olive oil. (Prefer Greek extra virgin Kalamata olive oil.
-  ½ cup red wine.
-  Freshly grated Pecorino cheese.
-  1 chilli very finely chopped, discarding the seeds and veins.
-  Salt and freshly ground pepper.
-  Boil the spaghetti as mentioned on the box.
-  In a large frying pan, pour some olive oil, heat.
-  Stir fry the onions and the garlic till soft.
-  Add bacon and stir for two minutes.
-  Add wine, stir to expel the wine odor.
-  Add tomato pieces, salt, pepper, chilli, and two Tbsp. of the freshly grated pecorino. Stir, cover, lower heat to minimum and simmer.
-  By that time the spaghetti are boiled, drain, quickly transfer onto serving dish, top with the sauce, sprinkle some pecorino and serve immediately.
I repeat again and again:
1)  Pasta dishes do not wait for those who will eat them, they wait for the pasta to be served.
2)  Pasta is usually eaten in soup plates or deep dishes, not in bowls, with a fork only. It is not allowed to cut if they are long, and not allowed to use a spoon to help curl the spaghetti around the fork without splashing. This is sometimes allowed not to dirty one’s shirt, blouse, but definitely not the cutting!! However everybody can do whatever they like.
I will admit that I prefer to use a spoon, if I am not using the special bib (bavette in French, saliára in Greek) my wife made for me.
3)  Sauces and Pasta are cooked simultaneously. i.e. the sauce must be finished by the time the pasta is cooked and drained. If you are preparing a complicated sauce then start that before or while you wait for the water to boil.
Bon Appétit, 
Photo shown above is Courtesy of Wikipedia'amatriciana


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