Amatriciana is a simple but tasty Italian dish, made with bucatini pasta – so good!
I feel happy and sad about writing this today.
Sad because the inspiration behind this dish comes from the loss of a talented young lady – taken far too early.
Yet I also have warm and comforting feelings knowing that she brought happiness to the world and to her family and friends.
Isabella ran the blog Coriander Queen – a place filled drool-worthy recipes and delicious photography of the kind of food I love to eat. Not forgetting the cocktails too!
I’d heard about her battle with cancer, but was shocked to hear it had taken her life a few weeks ago. She was still in her 20’s. Just no age to be taken from this world.
In tribute to Isabella’s story, a few of us fellow bloggers got together to cook recipes from her blog. They’re all being posted today so I’ll include some links to everybody’s posts below.
I decided to cook Isabella’s Amatriciana, as similar to Izzy, it reminded me of travels to Italy. For Izzy, that was Rome, for me, it was last year in Venice and Lake Garda. I’ve made a couple of changes here and there to make it my own.
So often, the simpler recipes are the best, and this one – containing just seven ingredients (excluding the seasoning and obligatory parsley scatter!), is so good!
Originating from Italy, it’s made with Bucatini – which is kind of like fat spaghetti with a hole running through the centre. You can make the dish with spaghetti or even penne or rigatoni if you prefer, but bucatini is the best.
Slow cooked onions (some versions omit this) and just-crisped pancetta (the authentic version uses guanciale – which is a fattier make made from pork jowl. Not the grisly type of fat though, it’s a rich and creamy type of fat – almost melt-in-the-mouth) cooked with just a hint of chili flakes. Not so much chilli that you need to reach for the water, rather, just enough to leave a tiny bit of heat in your mouth that makes you question whether it actually had chilli in it.
Tinned tomatoes are added and cooked down until rich and thick. You can add a little sugar here if you like, but if you use some good quality tomatoes (such as Cirio), you shouldn’t need to. The al-dente bucatini is added along with the pecorino, so that the pasta absorbs the flavour of the sauce, whilst being coated in the creamy cheese.
I like to finish off with black pepper, extra pecorini and a sprinkling of parsley before serving.
Each time I eat this, i’ll be thinking of Izzy, and raising a glass of wine to her and her family xx
You’ll find links for lot’s of other Izzy-inspired recipes, from my fellow blogger friends, just below the recipe instructions.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200g (about ¾ cup) chopped pancetta, or lardons (or Guincele if you can get it for a really authentic Amatriciana)
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 x 400g (14oz) tin of good-quality chopped tomatoes
- 320g (Just over 11 oz) Bucatini pasta
- 100g (approx 1 cup) grated Pecorino cheese
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Small bunch of parsley, chopped
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the pancetta, cooking on a high heat until just crisp, stirring in the chilli flakes for the last minute of cooking.
- Remove the pancetta from the pan and add the onions to the oil that has been left in the pan.
- Cook the onions on a low heat for 8-10 minutes, until really soft. Add in the tinned tomatoes, bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.
- Cook your pasta at this point too. I cook my bucatini in boiling water for 7 minutes, so that it still retains a bite of bite, then drain, reserving half a cup of the pasta water.
- Once the pasta is cooked and the tomatoes are thickened, add the pasta to the pan with the tomatoes. Add three-quarters of the percorino, the cooked pancetta and the black pepper, then toss everything together to coat the pasta. Add in some of pasta water if the sauce is a little too dry for you (although the sauce should stick to the pasta, without pooling at the bottom of the pan).
- Serve topped with the reserved perorino and parsley.
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