Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pasta Amatriciana

If you've never tried guanciale, you should check it out.  It's like bacon, only better.  Made from the jowl of the pig, guanciale is the best part of the animal once it's cured.

Guanciale is the central umame flavor in Pasta Amatriciana, a rustic pasta dish from Italy.  It's simple to make and, thanks to the guanciale, it's incredibly delicious.

If you use the concept of prepping and cooking at the same time, this easy dish is very quick to make.

Pasta Amatriciana Recipe

Prep/Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves 2-3

Set your water to boil for the pasta and, at the same time, put a large pan on the stove to heat up on medium heat.  Toss in the pan:

some lardons of guanciale

While all that is heating up, cut up some:


Toss those in the pan with the guanciale that's rendering.   Cut into chunks:

1 pound fresh or frozen tomatoes

By this time the water should be at a boil.  When this is indeed the case, start cooking:

8 oz. pasta 

Add the tomatoes to the pan with the shallots.  Add:

salt to taste

Boil down the tomatoes to thicken the sauce.  In the meantime, grate:

parmigiano reggiano to taste

When the pasta is al dente, scoop out some of the starchy pasta water and set aside.  Drain and rinse the pasta.  If the sauce needs some extra moisture, add some of the pasta water you reserved and stir in.  

Turn the heat off under your pan.  Add the pasta to the sauce.  Stir it all together to incorporate.  If more liquid is needed, add some of that pasta water you reserved.  Add most of the parmesan cheese you grated and stir that in, too.  Plate your pasta and serve hot, topped with the rest of the parmesan.



Michele said...

This looks delicious! I've never tried guanciale or frozen tomatoes before. Do you think I can find guanciale at my local super market or TJ's? Or am I going to have to go to Whole Foods or some other fancy place?

Gina Kelley said...

Michele - I don't think TJ's will have guanciale. You can always sub out bacon or pancetta, but if you can find the guanciale I highly recommend it. Whole Foods might have it. I get it from a specialty grocery that has its own meat counter. It's called Chop. I suppose it's a fancy place :) They make their own charcuterie and it's not even expensive. But this is Portland. Is there anything like this in Nevada? I'm not sure!

Michele said...

Hm, I'll let you know if I ever find any. There are a few restaurants in Reno that make there own charcuterie, but it's only for dining in.

Gina Kelley said...

Pancetta is really similar. I have made pasta amatriciana many times with both pancetta and even bacon, and it's still very good, I promise! The next time you're in Portland I'll take you on a charcuterie tour!