The Amatriciana is one of the most famous sauce for pasta, made with guanciale, pecorino cheese and tomato.
First of all, let’s explain what “guanciale” is. Guanciale is a typical italian cured meat, made from pork jowl or cheeks; in fact, its name derives from “guancia”, the italian word for cheek.
The history of Amatriciana
There are a few stories about how Amatriciana was born. The real story seems to be the one that says that Amatriciana comes from “pasta alla gricia”, a typical recipe from the area of Amatrice and Grisciano, two villages in Lazio. The pasta alla gricia is made with pecorino cheese, guanciale and black pepper (practically, it’s the Amatriciana without tomato sauce).
Then, at the end of XIX century, the tomatoes sauce was created and this new ingredient was added to the pasta alla gricia… and voilà, the famous Amatriciana sauce was born.
Between XIX and XX centuries, Amatriciana became very popular in Rome thanks to the frequent contacts between the capital and the village of Amatrice. At that time, in fact, a lot of innkeepers were from the area of Amatrice and they started to cook this new sauce for their customers. The romans start to appreciate the Amatriciana so much that, in a very short time, it was considered a classical recipe of the roman cuisine.
As first thing, we have a couple of myths to debunk: the real Amatriciana is made with no onions, no garlic and no bacon!
Ok, now we can start. The following recipe is for four persons.
- 400 gr spaghetti
- 250 gr guanciale
- 500 gr of fresh ripe tomatoes; otherwise, you can use a jar of peeled tomatoes i.
- 150 gr of pecorino cheese
- One spoon of lard or olive oil.
- One red chili (not too hot)
- A handful of salt (to salt the water for the pasta)
- Cut the guanciale in stripes of the same thickness.
- Sear the tomatoes in boiling water and then peel them and remove the central part with the seeds. Then, put them in a bowl together with their sauce.
- Grate the pecorino cheese.
- Pour a spoon of lard, or olive oil, in a pan and let it warm on a high flame.
- Put in the pan the whole chili and the guanciale and stir them.
- Lower the flame and brown the guanciale.
- Put the tomatoes and let it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When the sauce is cooked, remove the chili.
- Cooked the spaghetti, drain them and put them in the pan. Stir the spaghetti and the sauce, adding the pecorino cheese a little at a time.
- Put the spaghetti into a dish, add a pinch of pecorino cheese and serve them hot.