I happened to catch an episode of Everyday Italian the other day and Giada was making a traditional Roman dish called Pasta All’Amatriciana and you know me, I am ALL about the pasta which is why I was amazed that I had never tried this simple pasta dish. After watching the show, I looked at several recipes that had slightly different ingredients but the same basic idea. This recipe is a combination of everything that sounded good. The sauce is a mixture of pancetta, onions, tomatoes, white wine and crushed red peppers. I then tossed in some bucatini pasta and plenty of freshly grated pecorino romano cheese. Delicious no?
For those of you that don’t know, pancetta is basically Italian bacon, but unlike American bacon it is usually not smoked. Smoking does give American bacon a different flavor but pancetta can be hard to find and when you can find it it is often in very thin slices which won’t work for this recipe. I am fortunate enough to have an Italian deli in town that sells pancetta so I went there and had him cut me a 1/3 pound piece. With that said, if you cannot find pancetta use thick cut bacon.
I also used bucatini pasta for this recipe which is a thick spaghetti like pasta with a hole in the middle ,but that too can be hard to find and expensive so feel free to substitute spaghetti or linguine if you like.
Start the water for your pasta. Cook according to box directions.
Meanwhile, brown pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat, 5-7 minutes. Drain on paper towels, reserve pan drippings.
In the same skillet add the onion and crushed red pepper. Cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add white wine. Cook 2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Cook 15 minutes, sauce will reduce slightly. (Note: Pancetta can be salty so taste your sauce before you start adding salt.)
Return pancetta to pan, toss in pasta. Add pecorino romano cheese, toss pasta once more. Serve.