Bucatini all'Amatriciana


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Named after Amatrice, a mountain town in Lazio, Amatriciana is one of the region's most famous pasta dishes (along with Gricia, Cacio e pepe, Arrabbiata, and arguably the most famous, Carbonara). All are quick and easy to make, but must be cooked with care and attention.

Quality ingredients are the key here; San Marzano tomatoes may be more expensive than an average tin but are well worth the price tag. They have fewer seeds, which make them great for sauces, and their flavour is sweeter and a little less acidic. Guanciale is cured pig jowl, it has a stronger, porkier flavour than other cured meats and really adds depth of flavour to the dish (though a high quality pancetta can be used instead if you can’t find it anywhere).

Amatriciana is traditionally paired with Bucatini, which is a thick, hollow spaghetti-like pasta that catches the sauce wonderfully, but spaghetti or even penne can be used here instead.

As with most regional dishes, every household has its own variation. Consider the addition of finely diced onion or chilli to your Amatriciana sauce, if you want to add an extra flavour dimension.




Bucatini all'amatriciana

To begin, slowly heat the diced guanciale with a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-low heat. If using onions and chilli, add them to the pan to soften in the rendered fat, cooking them until soft but without colour
Once the guanciale is lightly golden, add the white wine and reduce by three quarters
Add the tin of tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes, roughly chop them first)
Cook down on a low heat for 10–15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Taste and add salt and a pinch of sugar if necessary
Cook the pasta in a pan of heavily salted boiling water for 8–10 minutes, or as per packet instructions
Once the pasta is al dente, drain and add it to the sauce, tossing to make sure the pasta is evenly coated
Serve straight away with plenty of grated Pecorino Romano and some torn basil leaves
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