This recipe is the original from Amatrice, town in Rieti province (not far from Rome) and should be prepared with guanciale (cured pork cheek). I've never been able to find it here in the U.S. so I prepared it with bacon this time. I know I should look for pancetta but I haven't been too lucky to find the one I actually want (the one in this photo of a previous time is the rolled one, then diced at the source: the actual pancetta should be flat); I was lucky to find a very good bacon, not overly smoked and quite lean, actually. It was labeled as "center cut", I don't know if it's the same for every brand. You should us bucatini, to make this recipe, but I left them at our store so I made it with linguine... truly good, overall!
1 lb Italian Linguine
6 oz bacon, center cut, diced
1 14-oz can Italian peeled San Marzano tomatoes, roughly chopped, with their sauce
4 tbsp pecorino romano, grated
1 pinch hot pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
Italian sea salt
Bring a big pot (better taller than wider) with water to a boil.
In the meantime put a big saucepan on high heat and sautee the bacon with hot pepper flakes for about 2 minutes, than add wine and let the alcohol evaporate.
Add tomatoes, lower the heat to medium, cover with a lid and cook for about 10 more minutes.
When the water boils, add salt (Italian coarse sea salt is better, because you'll use less) and pasta; cook for 8-10 minutes.
Drain pasta and reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water; toss the pasta in the skillet with the sauce and sautee for a couple minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking water. You can also take it out of the water as I do in the video, and transfer directly into the saucepan: this way, most likely, there will be enough humidity on the pasta.
Serve sprinkled with grated pecorino romano.
This recipe serves 4-5 people.
- As said in the introduction, pasta should be bucatini, same one I used in the video.
- Instead of Italian San Marzano tomatoes, I used a canned Italian sauce that is outstanding. It's called Pomodorina and it's worth every penny... Try it, if you can find it in a store near you.
- As said, preferably use pancetta, if you find it easily.
- I like onion, so I added 1/4 cup of roughly chopped onions, that I sauteed with pancetta and hot pepper flakes at the beginning (don't tell purists or they'll kill me ;-)).
- In case your pancetta or bacon is not too fat, use 1 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil, I did it
- Always cook pasta al dente, NEVER overcook it: it will raise your blood sugars more and it will be more difficult to digest.
- If you don't like pecorino, you can use Parmigiano reggiano (even though the purists will not like it ;-))
- You can make it Gluten free using GF spaghetti (good quality one, like the ones we carry) and lactose free by simply avoiding pecorino.
- You can see our video here (the one made with pancetta and bucatini)