It’s no secret that I love pasta – LOVE PASTA. I did not get this girly figure NOT loving pasta. It’s not complicated or fussy and very rarely talks back, and it turns out perfect every time! Too thin- add more butter or cook longer. Too thick – add pasta water – too salty – add another can of tomatoes. You can fix pasta sauce….
Pasta all’ Amatriciana
- good “blorp” of olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 large red onion (finely chopped)
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1/4 cup good red wine
- 3 (10-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon (ish) butter
- 1/2 tablespoon red hot chili flakes
- 8 ounces guanciale or pancetta (cubed)
- 1 pound pasta – any shape – any length
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
- salt & pepper
- Heat your oil of choice to hot, but not smoking in a large skillet. I know that all experts say never use a cast iron skillet for sauces that have acid. But I love this sauce in a cast iron. There I said it … breaking rules already.
- Add the guanciale (guan chal leh) – pig jowels / cheeks or pancetta (pan chet tah) – salt cured pork belly cubes and cook for 7-10 minutes, frequently stirring until the little cubes are crisp. Yes, you can use bacon as well. But try and get guanciale. It’s glorious. Fatty and smoky!
- Add the chopped onion to the pork and gently fry them until softened but not brown.
- After 5 or so minutes (the onion will tell you) add the chopped garlic, stir and continue to cook until the onions are ready (10 minutes).
- Turn the heat to high and add the wine and cook until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Add a good nub of butter and the sauce will thicken even more. Some folks (Iowans) add sugar – I do not – ever – butter will round out the acidic taste and thicken your sauce. And besides it’s butter…BUTTER.
- Then add the canned tomatoes and chili flakes and stir well. This is a spicy dish. IF you have sensitive spice eaters in the family – skip this step and just add the chili flakes to your own bowl. Thaw those tomatoes that you froze from your garden this year, juice and ALL. Just add cook time if you are using frozen.
- Lower the heat to medium, so the sauce is simmering NOT boiling. Cook the sauce for 20 minutes stirring from time to time and keep checking the sauce is not burning.
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions; this will typically be around 9-12 minutes. Normally I salt the living daylights out of my pasta water. Salty water = seasoned pasta. BUT, I do use pasta water for the sauce so it’s best if you lightly salt the pasta water for this dish.
- Drain the pasta and reserve 2 cups of the pasta water.
- Add in the pasta TO THE SAUCE and half the Parmesan cheese and stir. If it feels too thick – just add a little pasta water. This is not a thin sauce.
- Serve the pasta immediately with extra grated Parmesan and fresh basil – if you have it.