Another trip to Italy means another pasta for me to obsess about. I have a tendency to be drawn to Roman-style pasta. There are a total of four staple dishes when it comes to Roman pasta. Spaghetti Alla Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe, Pasta Alla Gricia, and Pasta all'Amatriciana.

Over the last year since my first trip to Rome, I have been making Carbonara on a regular basis. I fell in love with the flavor and the creamy sauce that Carbonara brings to the pasta.

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The last trip to Rome has given me a new dish to make and now I am going to tell you how to make it. Pasta all'Amatriciana has only a few ingredients and can be made in about 15 minutes.

Matt Sparx
Matt Sparx

Here is what you are going to need to make pasta all'Amatriciana for two:

  • Pasta - Bucatini is best. However, you can use spaghetti or rigatoni
  • One can of peeled whole tomatoes. San Marazano tomatoes are preferred
  • 3-4 ounces pancetta. Authentic Roman dishes use Guanciale, but this is pretty difficult to find in Colorado. I went to the deli at the local grocery store and asked for a half-inch cut. This recipe used one and a half slices of the deli pancetta.
  • Fresh, finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup white wine. I used an Italian Pino Grigio
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Salt for the pasta water

Start by adding water to your pot to boil your pasta, salt to taste. While the water heats up, cut up the pancetta into quarter-inch strips. Place the pancetta in a cold pan and turn the heat to medium-low. This will start to render the fat out of the pancetta. Be careful to not cook the pancetta too much.

As the pancetta is rendering down, open the canned tomatoes and break them down into smaller chunks. You will want tiny chunks of tomatoes. This can be achieved by smashing with a fork, I opted to pulse them to the consistency that I wanted in the blender.

Your water should now be boiling. Add pasta to the water and cook until al dente according to the instructions on the package. The pancetta should be close to being finished rendering and browned. When the pancetta is fully rendered, move the chunks to one side of the pan and add freshly cracked black pepper to your liking to the oil. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. The white wine will remove the remnants off the bottom of the pan giving you that extra flavor in the dish. I knew it was time to add the tomatoes to the pan when I was able to slide the spatula through the oil and wine mixture and there was a bit of separation in the liquid. When you see this, add your tomatoes and let simmer on low heat until the pasta is cooked.

Reserve about a cup of your pasta water and then drain, strain your pasta. Now is the time to marry all of the ingredients into one. Add the pasta and sauce back into the pot, slowly add the freshly grated Pecorino Romano and stir. At this time, you may notice the tomato sauce is lacking. This is where the reserve pasta water comes in. Add a little at a time while stirring. You want the sauce to look almost runny. This is a good thing as the pasta will absorb the water and the starches in the pasta water will meld with the sauce. When you get to a smooth, creamy consistency, it is time to plate your pasta all'Amatriciana and top off your dish with a bit more Pecorino Romano.

If you make this Roman dish. Let us know how it was. I know that we certainly enjoyed it and will be making it many times in the future.


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