I am starting to have moments, little pains in my heart, missing our old life in Rome. Charleston is beautiful, the light in my apartment is amazing, the lovely quiet. But Rome, well, it’s Rome and we miss it.
In tribute to the Eternal City, I made spaghetti all’amatriciana, which should be crowned as Rome’s official pasta, even though the name means from Amatrice, a town in Northeast Lazio. It would be difficult for you to go to any Roman Trattoria, Osteria or Ristorante and not find l’amatriciana on the menu.
Rome really only has 4 pastas, of course there are exceptions, but when you go to a barebones osteria, it is likely that you will only find these four on the menu, really two or three of the four: L’Amatriciana, La Carbonara, La Gricia, and Cacio e Pepe. The first three pastas all have basically the same ingredients, give or take a few, but Pancetta is always central.
- 1 lb spaghetti, bucatini or rigatoni (most Roman pastas go well with a variety of pasta shapes, bucatini is the most traditional for an amatriciana)
- 1/4 lb of bacon (pancetta is better, but more expensive and not as easy to find, guanciale is also preferred)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 28 oz. can of tomato sauce or san marzano tomatoes (you want to blend it before using, you want a smooth sauce, no tomato chunks)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
- dash of red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
Fill a large pot with water for the pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Cut bacon into small slices and chop onions. Heat oil in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat and add the bacon and onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until bacon starts to cook and the onion becomes transparent. Add the tomato sauce and the red pepper flakes. Stir frequently and add water if the sauce starts to get too thick.
Once the water starts to boil for the pasta add a small handful of salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
When the pasta is perfectly al dente, turn up the heat on the sauce and drain the pasta. Without shaking all of the water out of the colander pour the pasta into the pan and toss it with the sauce. This allows for the pasta to cook a little longer in the sauce and to absorb the flavor.
Serve with grated pecorino romano.