For a simple dish, pasta all’amatriciana is freighted with controversy. People in Amatrice say it originated in that central Italian town, as the name implies. But in Rome, about 60 miles away, chefs proudly claim it as their own and say its name has nothing to do with its origins. In Amatrice, the dish is simply pasta, tomatoes, cured pork and cheese. But Romans include onions and olive oil. Even the type of pasta is in dispute. After half a dozen plates of it during a recent trip to Italy, one detail became clear: for any pasta all’amatriciana to be authentic, it must be made with guanciale — cured, unsmoked pig jowl.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1medium onion, sliced thin
- 3cloves garlic, sliced
- ¼pound guanciale, in 1-inch slivers 1/4 -inch thick
- 3cups canned San Marzano tomatoes (about a 28-ounce can)
- ½teaspoon red chile flakes, or to taste
- ¼cup grated aged pecorino cheese, more for serving
- 1pound bucatini
Step 1Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet. Add onion and garlic, and sauté over medium heat until transparent. Add guanciale and sauté until barely beginning to brown.
Step 2Break up tomatoes and add. Cook about 15 minutes, crushing tomatoes with a spoon, until sauce has become somewhat concentrated and homogenized. Season with chili and salt and stir in 1 tablespoon cheese. Remove from heat.
Step 3Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add bucatini and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and transfer to skillet. Gently reheat contents of skillet, folding pasta and tomato sauce together until they are heated through and pasta is well-coated, about 5 minutes. Fold in remaining cheese. Check seasoning and serve with more cheese on the side.