Pasta Amatriciana as well as the cacio e pepe, carbonara and gricia, represent the cornerstones of Roman cuisine. The origins of this dish can be attributed to the pastoral world and in particular to the periods of transhumance in which the shepherds of the area between Abruzzo and Lazio, having to stay away from home for several months, brought with them a few tasty and not easily perishable ingredients. Wanting to try to date the dish, it is very likely that this dates back to the end of the eighteenth century when, starting from Naples, the tomato began to spread in kitchens throughout Italy and therefore also in amatrice where the shepherds had the brilliant idea of combining it with the preparation base in white (gricia).
Ingredients for 4/5 people
500 gr of Pasta (Bucatini)
125 gr of Guanciale
1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dry White Wine (to blend) to taste
6 or 7 San Marzano tomatoes (or a 400g packet of peeled tomatoes)
Half Chilli Pepper (optional)
100 g of Pecorino Romano Cheese (medium seasoned)
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
1 pinch of Sugar
For the preparation of the pasta amatriciana we immediately start by removing the rind of the guanciale and in general also the rest of its external part, both for reasons of hygiene and taste as, vice versa, at the end of cooking it could have hints too bitter in taste.
Once this is done, slice the guanciale into strips about 4 mm thick and brown it in a pan together with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with black pepper and blend with white wine.
The guanciale should not be crunchy but soft, tasty and with a translucent fatty part.
As soon as the alcoholic part introduced with the wine has evaporated, collect the bacon and put it aside to prevent it from drying out too much in contact with the still hot fat.
At this point we add the tomatoes cut into fillets and deprived of seeds, which we have previously blanched.
Optionally, we can also add half a fresh chilli pepper. We check the level of flavor of the sauce and add a pinch of sugar to dampen the acidity of the tomato.
We mix and let it cook for the necessary time.
In the meantime, let the pasta cook, avoiding excessive salting.
Add a ladleful of pasta cooking water to the sauce and drain the very al dente pasta (bucatini) directly into the pan. If necessary, gradually add more cooking water and the guanciale. When sautéing, bring the pasta to the end of cooking and add the grated pecorino romano cheese. We mix everything and serve our pasta amatriciana on plates with a further sprinkling of black pepper and pecorino romano cheese.
Variants and Curiosities
- The traditional amatriciana is made with bucatini, sometimes with spaghetti. In any case, short formats such as rigatoni and half sleeves are also welcome.
- In Amatrice, tradition says that the bacon must weigh 1/4 of the pasta.
- Although the traditional recipe contemplates 100 gr of pecorino on 500 gr of pasta in reality this value can vary in fact it happens to have to do with a more seasoned and salty pecorino and therefore only 70 may be enough. Taste and check!
- It is possible to make a slightly lighter version of Amatriciana by eliminating half of the fat that will come out of the guanciale before inserting the tomatoes.
- It is possible to replace the San Marzano with 400 gr. of peeled tomatoes.