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What means all’ amatriciana?
Wikipedia says it’s simply pasta w/ tomatoes, bacon & pecorino from the Italian town of Amatrice – made w/ spaghetti.
My travel companion wrote that it’s one of the distinguished pasta dishes of Roman cuisine… made w/ bucatini.
During our Rome adventure I had bucatini all’ amatriciana for dinner: it was delicious!
Back home I decided to give it a try in my kitchen…
…& here is Eleonora Galasso’s cookbook about Roman cuisine*:
…which lingered in my kitchen for some months!
Of course it delivered a recipe for pasta all’ amatriciana.
So I started w/ its recipe…
…at first analyzing the list of ingredients.
Some changes had to be made from the very beginning:
- Eleonora’s recipe is meant to fed 6 people – quite a lot. I thought of a dinner for 2 & decided to confine myself to a “40% solution“ (meaning instead of 500 g pasta I took only 200 g pasta, instead of 250 g pecorino I took only 100 g etc. etc.).
(Of course some ingredients are somewhat difficult concerning any downsizing like shallots – so I decided to go for a whole shallot instead of…)
- Spaghetti, bucatini… Eleonora Galasso recommends bucatini, rigatoni or mezze maniche:
spaghetti – these are the long slim skewers
bucatini – these are the thick long macaroni
rigatoni – these are the thick ribbed tubes
mezze maniche – these are the short thick ribbed tubes.
I decided to rely on rigatoni.
- Guanciale… a special air-dried bacon (diced) requested by the recipe as #1 choice.
I decided to work w/ pancetta instead.
(Another substitute would have been South-Tyrolean bacon.)
The pancetta came in slices – so I chopped the slices roughly.
- Italian tomatoes: fresh tomatoes, to be peeled after processed w/ boiling water.
I decided to grab a can of peeled Italian tomatoes.
So we finally have:
- canned peeled tomatoes
- fresh thyme
Step 1: Chop & fry the pancetta. As soon as the pancetta is crisp put it aside.
Step 2: Chop & fry the shallot in some olive oil together w/ the fresh thyme.
(You may use the same pan as for the bacon. Don’t be stingy w/ the thyme.)
Step 3: As soon as shallots get soft add the tomatoes & mash them. Add some sugar & a pinch of chili (either ground chili or chili flakes or a crushed dried chili pepper (w/o the pits!)).
Then simply let it simmer for a while.
Step 4: Cook the rigatoni. While cooking & the sauce is simmering grate the pecorino.
(If the sauce seems to become too dry just add 1-2 tbsp of pasta cooking water.)
Step 5: Discard the thyme.
Step 6: Drain the rigatoni & dump them in the sauce. Mix well. Add about the half of the crispy bacon. Mix well.
Step 7: Transfer the mess in a bowl. Add the pecorino & mix well. The pecorino starts melting in the hot mess – immediately.
Step 8: Add the rest of the crispy bacon & mix.
At this moment you may think that it seems a little dry… however, each rigatoni is full of tomato flavour, the melted pecorino sticks around. There is no soup-like sauce – & the dish doesn’t need a soup-like sauce!
Another point: I didn’t use any salt or pepper. The salt comes by the pancetta as well as the pecorino. Pepper is not recommended by the recipe – I think you don’t need it.
(Ok – if you are a salt afficionado or afficionada you may add some salt… maybe also some more chili, however, this dish isn’t meant to be hot & spicy!)
- 100 g pancetta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallott
- some fresh thyme 2-3 twigs
- 200 g canned peeled tomatoes
- a pinch of sugar
- a pinch of chili
- 200 g rigatoni
- 100 g pecorino
- Chop the pancetta & fry in a pan until crisp. Set aside.
- Chop the shallot.
- Add olive oil to the pan & fry the shallot & the fresh thyme.
- Add tomatoes & crush them.
- Add sugar & chili.
- Let it simmer.
- Cook the rigatoni.
- If the sauce seems to thick just add some pasta water (1-2 tbsp).
- Grate the pecorino roughly.
- Drain the rigatoni.
- Discard the thyme.
- Mix rigatoni & half of the pancetta w/ the tomato sauce.
- Transfer in a bowl.
- Add the pancetta & the pecorino.
- Mix & serve immediately.
Let’s talk about the cookbook!
It is a beautiful cookbook w/ lots of photos of Rome & the dishes… You cannot help, but thinking about your next trip to Rome & indulging in Roman cuisine. Eleonora Galasso’s Roman dishes are down-to-earth & substantial – this is no cookbook for anybody who is on the how-to-lose-weight trip. Down-to-earth: sometimes some ingredients appear that are not basic Italian – you should take into account that Eleonora Galasso is a blogger & influencer on international level…
When cooking any recipes always think about the amounts: most recipes are for 6 persons. (I’d assume that normally we all cook for 2 or 4 persons…)
The cookbook gives you a lot of ideas how to cook Roman dishes anywhere & w/ some courage it’ll work out fine!
My credo is: simple & fast!
In the cookbook you’ll often find a from-the-scratch approach (like starting w/ fresh tomatoes, boil them, let them rest, peel them…). Of course you can do so (like another recipe suggests: making your own mascarpone!). It always takes time – time that working people don’t have in abundance!
I think: stick to the dish & simplify the process!
The businesswoman w/ too many office hours thinks
Coming back to our rigatoni all’ amatriciana… There were some leftovers – just reheat it in microwave. Unfortunately the crispy bacon transforms into soft bacon, however, the flavours don’t change! It’s this full, rich mix of tomato, bacon & pecorino that’s around each single piece of rigatoni.