amatriciana

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

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The Amatriciana is a well known traditional tomato based pasta sauce made with guanciale (cured pork cheek or jowl), Pecorino Romano cheese, tomatoes and in some variations, white wine and onion. This delicious sauce originates from the town of Amatrice and the Italian government named it a Traditional Specialty guaranteed in the EU.

I read that the pasta all’Amatriciana was the main meal of the shepherds working in Amatrice and over the decades, the ingredients that went into it evolved to what it is today. Even in today’s time there are many variations, some with onion, some with olive oil, some with white wine and many more. The recipe then became famous in Rome over the 19th and the 20th centuries and is now considered a classic Roman cuisine made commonly with bucatini (a type of thick spaghetti that is hollow in the centre), even thou it originated from Amatrice.

Amatrice was a place I always remembered as it was during my first trip to Italy in August 2016 that the devastating magnitude 6.2 earthquake happened and the town Amatrice was badly hit, with hundreds killed and injured. The aftershock can be felt as far as Rome, where I was back then. In 2020, I had a chance to visit Amatrice during the winter time of 2020. Many parts of the town is still showing signs of the earthquake, buildings have reinforcement bars installed and those that are not inhabitable are fenced up and closed up. See this video that I took driving through the town.

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana is also quite special to me, as that was the first pasta dish my partner cooked for me, and I was sold – both on the past and on him. LOL. Making it is really simple. Perhaps the most tricky part is to get that guanciale. In Singapore where I stayed, it’s almost impossible to find it. Guanciale is cured pork jowl or pork cheek cured in a mixture of salt and spices, and it’s a specialty of central Italy. While its closest substitute, the pancetta comes from the belly of the pig and it’s cured in salt brine then seasoned with spices and herbs.

If the guanciale is not available, you can use pancetta, or any other cured meat you can find. Personally I preferred the guanciale more than the pancetta, it has a unique flavour. When rendered in low heat, the oil that separates has a really nice aroma that’s perfect for making sauces and stir fry.

Like another pasta dish with the guanciale? Check out the Spaghetti with Pumpkin Cream, Pecorino & Crispy Guanciale and Spaghetti Carbonara.

Watch how to cook Spaghetti all’Amatriciana on YouTube

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Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana is a well known traditional pasta dish made with guanciale (cured pork cheek or jowl), Pecorino Romano cheese, tomatoes and in some variations, white wine and onion.
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword amatriciana, guanciale, italian, pasta, spaghetti
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 persons
Calories 550kcal

Ingredients

  • 200 g spaghetti for 2 to 3 persons
  • 1 tbsp rock salt
  • 150 g guanciale or pancetta
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes 400g
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • Pecorino Romano cheese grated

Instructions

  • Crush 400g whole peeled tomatoes with a fork.
    1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • Trim off the rind of 150g guanciale. Cut the guanciale into thin strips.
    150 g guanciale
  • Render the guanciale in a non-stick pan on medium-low heat, until crispy and oil is separated. This takes about 7-8 minutes.
  • Add 1/4 cup of white wine and let the liquid reduce to half. This takes about 4-5 minutes.
    1/4 cup white wine
  • Add 1/4 tsp of chilli flakes and stir well.
    1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and let it simmer over reduced heat for about 20-30 minutes.
  • In a separate pot, boil water. Once boiled, add 200g spaghetti and 1 tbsp of rock salt.
    200 g spaghetti, 1 tbsp rock salt
  • While the pasta is still cooking, add 1/4 cup of pasta water into the simmering tomato sauce and mix well.
    1/4 cup pasta water
  • Once pasta is cooked till al dente, add the cooked spaghetti to the simmering tomato sauce. Turn off the heat. Mix the spaghetti well with the sauce.
  • Add grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
    Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Serve warm.

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Beautiful Voyager

Hello! I'm Pauline. Welcome to Beautiful Voyager, my food recipe and travel blog where I share my favourite recipes and travel stories. Do drop a note to say a little "hello!" and do not hesitate to ask any questions related to my posts.

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