This typically Roman pasta dish was traditionally made with guanciale, but since that ingredient used to be very hard to find outside of Italy, and the Lazio region in particular, pancetta has became a common substitute. This is changing and guanciale can now be found at certain specialty food stores here in America. While you can still make a great Amatriciana with pancetta, if you are able to find guanciale, you should try using it at least once.
Made from cured pork jowl, guanciale is softer and has a higher ratio of fat than pancetta, resulting in a richer sauce. That being said, with either ingredient it is still my favorite pasta dish. So no need to get too caught up in being “traditional”.
- 2 tblsp of olive oil
- ¼ of a pound pancetta or guanciale, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1 28 oz can of imported Italian tomatoes
- salt to taste
- 1 pound of bucatini pasta
- ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta or guanciale and cook, stirring often, until goldenbrown, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until garlic is golden, about 1 minute longer.
- Crush tomatoes and add with juices to pan. Add salt pepper and a little water. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the bucatini. Cook uncovered over high heat until al dente.
- Drain the pasta, then add the pasta and ¼ cup of the Pecorino Romano to the sauce in the saucepan and toss well. Transfer to warm serving plates and serve immediately, with the remaining Pecorino Romano on the side.
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