Pasta Amatriciana is a classic pasta dish for a reason, it's easy, delicious and pure comfort food!
One of my goals for this year is to learn some classic Italian pasta dishes! We love pasta around here and that sounded like an easy goal to keep!
Some dishes that I consider classics and would definitely be on that list are: Cacio e Pepe, Pasta Puttanesca, Pasta Carbonara, Penne all Vodka, Bolognese, Pasta alla Norma and Spaghetti al Limone. I'll had links to my recipes as I make my way through my list, you can see I have already made some of them!
Pasta all Amatriciana is one that has been on my mind for awhile. I watched it being made on Milk Street Television and loved their tips and techniques! So, that looked like a great place to start!
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Pancetta - not pictured. This recipe is traditionally made with guanciale (cured pork cheeks.) I'm sure that is fantastic, but not easy to find here in the US. This recipe uses a much more easy to find substitute - pancetta.
- Garlic cloves - you'll need 10 of them, this recipe is good and garlicky!
- Red pepper flakes - adds just a little heat!
- Dry white wine - use a wine good enough for drinking, not those bottles in the store aisle marked cooking wine.
- Canned whole peeled tomatoes - whole peeled tomatoes are a better quality than either diced or pureed.
- Pecorino Romano cheese - pecorino is made from sheep's milk, while Parmesan is made from cow's milk! Pecorino has a stronger flavor, more grassy and salty.
Step by step instructions.
One of the reasons I thought that recipe from Milk Street looked so intriguing was that they had you include a chunk of pecorino cheese in the water for boiling the pasta! Plus, you only use 2 quarts of water. So you are boiling the pasta in a starchy, cheesy water! So, start to bring to a boil 2 quarts of water and a 1 ounce chunk of pecorino cheese.
Cook the pancetta in a tablespoon of the olive oil until crispy. Remove it with a slotted spoon and let it drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Now, you're not going to let all that pancetta flavor go to waste! So add the garlic, cook a little, then add the red pepper flakes. Pour in the white wine and raising the heat to medium high, cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. This really concentrates the flavor.
You can crush the tomatoes by hand (like they suggest) or I took the less messy and easy way out by using kitchen shears and just chopping the tomatoes up while they were still in the can. You'll want to drain the juice out first, because you are going to add it after the tomatoes.
Add the tomatoes and cook until they are heated through. Then add 3 tablespoons of the tomato juice from the can.
Turn off the heat, while you cook the spaghetti.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta in the boiling water. You might need to stir the water occasionally as it's coming to a boil to keep the cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
You want to cook the pasta until it is just barely al dente. It will finish cooking with the sauce. Drain the pasta, reserving the pasta water and discard the chunk of pecorino cheese.
Put the sauce back over medium high heat and add 1 ½ cups of the reserved pasta water and bring it to a simmer. Add the pasta and toss it in the sauce. Cook for about 3-6 minutes or until most of the sauce has been absorbed.
Turn off the heat, add the rest of olive oil, the pancetta and black pepper. Serve with extra pecorino.
This was so good. It was everything I hoped it would be! The technique of using the cheese in the pasta water is one that I will use for other pasta recipes!
This was truly restaurant quality and yet easy enough for a weeknight and ready in about 30 minutes!
More 30 minutes pasta recipes!
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- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 ounces pancetta finely chopped
- 10 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 14.5 ounce canned tomatoes whole, peeled, crush with fingers or chop
- 1 ounce pecorino chunk, extra for garnishing
- 12 ounces spaghetti
- salt and pepper
- Drain the canned tomatoes, reserving the juice. Crush them with your hands or chop or dice.
- Start a pot of 2 quarts of water and the pecorino chunk to boil. You might have to stir it occasionally to keep it from sticking. While it's coming to a boil, you'll start on the sauce.
- Using a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. When it begins to shimmer add the pancetta and cook until crispy about 5-7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until golden. Add the pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until the most of the liquid has evaporated about 5-7 minutes. Add the drained tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes, then stir in 3 tablespoons of the reserved tomato juice and turn off or remove from the heat.
- You water should be boiling by now, so stir in the pasta and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook until a couple of minutes shy of al dente, it will finish cooking in the sauce. Drain, reserving the pasta water and discarding the pecorino cheese.
- Place the skillet back on medium-hight heat and add 1 ½ cups of the reserved pasta water. Bring it to a simmer and then add the pasta. Toss it, cooking it for 3-6 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Turn off the heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the pancetta and 2 teaspoons of black pepper. Serve with extra finely grated pecorino cheese.