Another trip to Italy means another dough for me. I tend to be drawn to Roman style pasta. There are a total of four basic dishes when it comes to Roman pasta. Spaghetti Alla Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe, Pasta Alla Gricia and Pasta all’Amatriciana.
In the past year since my first trip to Rome, I have made Carbonara regularly. I fell in love with the flavor and creamy sauce that Carbonara brings to pasta.
The last trip to Rome gave me a new dish to make and now I’m going to tell you how to make it. Pasta all’Amatriciana has only a few ingredients and can be prepared in about 15 minutes.
Here’s what you’ll need to make pasta all’Amatriciana for two:
- Pasta – Bucatini is the best. However, you can use spaghetti or rigatoni
- A can of whole peeled tomatoes. San Marazano tomatoes are preferred
- 3-4 ounces of pancetta. Authentic Roman dishes use Guanciale, but that’s pretty hard to find in Colorado. I went to the deli at the local grocery store and asked for a half inch cut. This recipe used a slice and a half of deli pancetta.
- Finely grated fresh Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/4 cup of white wine. I used an Italian Pino Grigio
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Salt for pasta water
Start by adding water to your pan to boil your pasta, salt to taste. While the water is heating, cut the pancetta into quarter-inch strips. Place the pancetta in a cold skillet and lower the heat to medium-low. This will begin to melt the fat from the pancetta. Be careful not to overcook the pancetta.
While the pancetta is melting, open the canned tomatoes and break them into small pieces. You will need small pieces of tomatoes. This can be achieved by breaking up with a fork, I chose to pulse them to the consistency I wanted in the blender.
Your water should now be boiling. Add pasta to water and cook until al dente according to package directions. The pancetta should be about to be melted and browned. When the pancetta is fully melted, move the pieces to one side of the pan and add freshly cracked black pepper to your taste to the oil. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. The white wine will remove the leftovers from the bottom of the pan, giving you that extra flavor in the dish. I knew it was time to add the tomatoes to the pan when I was able to slide the spatula through the oil and wine mixture and there was a bit of separation in the liquid. When you see this, add your tomatoes and simmer over low heat until the pasta is cooked.
Reserve about a cup of the water for your pasta then drain, drain your pasta. Now is the time to combine all the ingredients into one. Return the pasta and sauce to the pot, slowly add the freshly grated Pecorino Romano and stir. At this point you may notice that the tomato sauce is lacking. This is where reserve water for pasta comes in. Add a little at a time while stirring. You want the sauce to look almost runny. This is good because the pasta will absorb the water and the starches in the pasta water will blend with the sauce. When you’ve achieved a smooth, creamy consistency, it’s time to dress up your pasta all’Amatriciana and top off your dish with a little more Pecorino Romano.
If you make this Roman dish. Let us know how it was. I know we certainly enjoyed it and will do it many times in the future.