Amatriciana or matriciana, the sauce is still the same: rich,spicy, with crunchy bits of guanciale. The name varies based on who is trying to lay claim to this pasta sauce's origins. The sauce is supposedly named after the town of Amatrice in the Appenine hills to the North East of Rome. Whether true or not, this sauce has become one of the signature dishes of Roman culinary tradition.
I know it must seem that I'm using guanciale for just about everything these days and it's probably true. But it's just so good and flavor-enhancing in many savory dishes. It gives a certain oomph to otherwise bland vegetables and provides smoky, crunchy flavor to pasta sauces. So it's true, I am using it a lot.
To prepare the sauce correctly (and it will make all the difference to the successful outcome of the sauce to use the right ingredients) you need:
- Fresh or canned, peeled tomatoes, 500 grams
- Guanciale, 150 grams, finely cubed (or cut into thin, inch long strips)
- One peperoncino (red chili pepper), minced
- One medium onion, thinly sliced
- Bucatini or spaghetti, 500 grams
- Pecorino Romano cheese, about 75 grams, grated
- Cook the guanciale in a heavy-weight frying pan over a very low flame until the guanciale starts to become golden and crispy.
- Add the sliced onion and minced red pepper and cook until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the tomatoes and cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens.
- While the sauce is cooking put the pasta into boiling, salted water and cook until al dente. The original recipe calls for bucatini, a long, hollow pasta. I find it too unwieldy and always end up with sauce on my clothes so I opt for the more manageable alternative: spaghetti.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to your pasta sauce.
- Toss well and serve with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.