Bucatini all’Amatriciana

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Here it is one of the most famous and iconic recipes of Italy 🙂 I could eat it 1000 times, and I could never get bored of it! So simple, and so perfect, few ingredients matching perfectly to each others, et voilà: a little masterpiece 🙂

The name “Pasta all’Amatriciana” comes from the place of origin, the village of Amatrice, in Lazio region (but until 1927 it was part of Abruzzo region), and the recipe originated between shepherds. The same shepherds brought this recipe until Rome, during their travels, and that’s why later it has become one the most typical recipes of Rome.

It’s an old recipe that dates back some centuries, originally the sauce was made only with guanciale and Pecorino cheese and it was called “Gricia” (or “Griscia”), from the name of the village of Grisciano (near Amatrice), because it originated between shepherds of that area.

Then at the end of the XVIII century arrived the tomato to enrich the original recipe.

The authentic recipe (which actually has an official procedural guideline, they are not a “law” of course but just guidelines to protect the tradition) has the following ingredients: guanciale amatriciano (cheek lard), extra virgin olive oil, dry white wine, San Marzano tomatoes or peeled tomatoes, Pecorino cheese, chili, salt and black pepper. These are the original ingredients to use to be called “authentic Amatriciana sauce”.

But it’s possible to find some variations to the main recipe, the most common probably is the use of pancetta rather then guanciale (cheek lard). It’s not the same, guanciale is more fat and has a more intense taste (guanciale is matured for a longer time, usually at least 3 months, pancetta usually just 25/30 days), but if you don’t have guanciale at home then also pancetta makes the recipe very good 🙂

Another variation is using tomato sauce rather then tomatoes. If it’s winter and you would like to eat Amatriciana sauce, then nothing forbid you to use the very good tomato sauce you prepared at the end of the summer, of course 🙂 your pasta will be also very good!

Then someone else use to add also a little bit of onion, but I think it’s not needed.

Let’s see the procedure now.

INGREDIENTS (4 people):

  • 400 g of Bucatini (in alternative also spaghetti are ok, and some people use shorter pasta too, for example rigatoni)
  • 100 g of guanciale (cheek lard), or if you don’t have use pancetta (not smoked, or maximum very very little)
  • 6/7 tomatoes (or 500/600 ml of tomato sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • a drop of dry white wine, let’s say 50 ml, just to add some acidity to the fat of guanciale (but it’s optional, and if you use pancetta, which is less fatty, I think you don’t need the wine)
  • 1 chili, sliced
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper (optional)
  • grated Pecorino cheese
  1. First of all, start boiling the water.
  2. Then cut the guanciale in rectangular slices, not too thin (and remove the external “crust” and the possible yellowish external fat).
  3. Take a pan (an iron pan, if you have it), heat the oil and start cooking the guanciale you cut. Cook it at low heat until the fat is transparent.
  4. Then add the chili, set the heat higher and add also the white wine. Keep the heat high until the wine has reduced (but personally I like it also without the wine, I usually skip this step).
  5. Now put the pasta into the salted boiling water, and add the tomatoes to the guanciale (you must cut the tomatoes and remove the seeds), or if it’s not the season use the tomato sauce. Cook at medium/low heat until the pasta is ready, and control if you need to add some salt.
  6. When the pasta is ready (follow the exact time on the package, also 1 minute less) drain it and drop it in the pan with the sauce, and let it mix together with the sauce at medium/high heat for 1-2 minutes, add also a ladle of the boiling water if needed.
  7. Serve it and add grated Pecorino cheese. Enjoy 🙂

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Products used:

Pasta: bucatini from Pastificio Gentile

Cheese: Pecorino di Moliterno, bought at “A Sajtos” in Budapest

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jasmine S. says:

    Made this for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it’s so good, only we couldn’t find any guanciale. I loved reading the history of the dish!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jasmine 🙂 yes, this is a recipe I do quite often! I know, actually me too lately I use more often pancetta than guanciale, here in Hungary I cannot find it easily so I have to wait always when I go back to Italy 🙂
      I’m very happy that you appreciate the introduction to the recipe 🙂 I always like to know something more about the food and the recipes, and I always like to share what I know 🙂 thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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