” The one! “
Anyone who comes to Italy, sooner or later, wants to order Spaghetti Amatriciana in a restaurant. Here in Italy it is an icon of our cuisine!
Reading the ingredients, you may have just an idea of what it is, they are classic, let’s say basic: tomato, pork cheek, a splash of white wine, chili pepper and Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano, or both. And spaghetti, of course. These ingredients are poor as many others in our tradition, this because our recipes come from the past and in particular from peasants, shepherds or fishermen, who needed to feed themselves just on what they had available. But generally, it was of excellent quality.
The best place to taste spaghetti Amatriciana is, needless to say, in Amatrice: a small town near Rome that was hit by a serious earthquake a few years ago. Even just to encourage the work of restaurants, you should go there once. You will be rewarded with kindness and excellent food!
Rome, being a few kilometers away, is the second place in the ranking for a magnificent Amatriciana. Especially because it is easier to get the pork cheek, which is originally from Amatrice and is the most important ingredient in this recipe.
What kind of tomato for Amatriciana?
That’s a good question
It is easy to say “tomato”! Not in Italy, trust us! For each tomato sauce, we have the perfect one! We repeat it in all the recipes where there is tomato involved, but obviously it is never the same…
For Amatriciana sauce, best tomato is San Marzano peeled tomato (Roma), the one in can. No salt, no seasoning, just tomato in its juice. Most important is its texture, which is not too thick, and matches better with the others few ingredients, without covering the flavors. And in short time! Amatriciana sauce doesn’t need to cook too long, when tomato is reduced, it’s time to add the pasta! A sauce for four persons needs to cook about twenty minutes.Tips roughly cut peeled tomato before adding in the pan, will be easier to dissolve.
Pork cheek in slices or cube?
As long as it is pork cheek
As you can see from the photo above, we like in thin slices…they perfectly combine in the sauce and it becomes as one whole. Moreover, we like to take some aside, crunchy, to add just before serve spaghetti. So, in your bite there will be a crunchy surprise, that will make your spaghetti Amatriciana even more yummy.Tips probably you cannot find pork cheek. In that case pancetta (or bacon) will be fine… better if not smoked. It won’t be really Amatriciana, but quite similar and tasty.
- 400 gr spaghetti
- 150 gr pork cheek in thin slices (even if the right proportion is 1/4 of pastaweight's…we like generous!)
- 400 gr roughly cut peeled tomato
- 1/3 glass of dry white wine
- Chili pepper
- Grated Pecorino Romano (better if Pecorino from Amatrice, less salty)
- On medium heat, brown the pork cheek to let lose its fat (we will need it later to cook tomatoes)and get the edges crispy. Remove from the pan 1/4 of the cheek and keep warm aside (you will need it to garnish the pasta just before serve). Splash with thewine, let the alcohol evaporate, remove the rest of the ingredients from thepan and keep warm.
- Add chili pepper, then tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes on medium low heat. Season withsalt. Remove the chili, put back pork cheek in the pan, stir and cook for other 5 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of water, when it is about to boil add a fistful of salt: the water must be as salty as the sea. Don’t worry, the pasta will not absorb the entire quantity of salt and will be correctly salted. Then add spaghetti.
- When the pasta is al-dente,drain and transfer in the sauce pan, mix well and add Pecorino Romano Cheese. Mix again and divide in singular portions. Garnish with the crispy cheek and some Pecorino Cheese on top.
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