For a quick lunch, I like nothing more than throwing this little treasure together. Spaghetti coated with the simplest pancetta and tomato sauce. Add a little chilli for a pop of spice and you’re good to go. Get the recipe below…
Sometimes all I want for dinner is a big bowl of no fuss or hassle. This Spaghetti Amatriciana is just that. Italian food is obviously a great option for speed, and some pastas can be whipped together in as little as 10 minutes. This amatriciana recipe is quick, easy and super delicious. Three of my favourite qualities in a dish. It's a salty, lightly spicy sweet coating to pasta noodles. So much flavour!!
An authentic Amatriciana sauce
An authentic amatriciana recipe features three key components - and die-hard Italians can get a little heated if you stray from the recipe. They are giancale (pork cheek fat), tomato and chilli flakes. I'm sorry everyone, I have strayed from the recipe! My version switches out the giancale for pancetta (Italian bacon). I also add celery (forbidden!) to get a few more vegetables in there!
I have to say, I always have a piece of giancale in my fridge, but I can not bring myself to use it in a pasta sauce when I know the life-changing experience of thinly slicing and placing it directly over a piece of hot toasted crusty bread with a couple of fronds of rosemary. The melting bacon fat magic is hard to forget. You should try this. Really.
What's the best pasta for Amatriciana?
For ease, and as I usually have it as a pantry staple, I'll use spaghetti. But a thicker pasta noodle like Bucatini is traditionally used along with the authentic 'all'amatriciana' sauce. My sauce isn't super authentic, so spaghetti is fine. I also like to use a thicker noodle like a dried or fresh 'chitara' noodle from Abruzzo.
So, if you're not completely outraged by my misuse of Italian ingredients, you'll naturally be feeling the need to create my amatriciana sauce at home immediately. You'll have it from pan to mouth in no time at all. And you'll thank me for that.
Put a large pan of salted water for the pasta on the stove to heat while you're making the sauce.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a moderate heat. Add the pancetta and fry for 4 minutes until just beginning to crisp.
Stir in the onion, celery and garlic and fry for 4-5 minutes until the onions are soft.
Add the oregano and the chilli flakes and stir in.
Pour in the wine and let it sizzle for 30 seconds or so until the alcohol has burned off. Season with salt & pepper.
Now add the tomato. Stir well and let this come to a simmer before adding a little chicken stock or water to thin out the sauce a little. Simmer gently over a low heat for 10 minutes then remove from the stove.
When the pasta water is boiling, cook the pasta to the packet instruction minus about 1 minute. Drain and add directly to the pasta sauce over a moderate heat. Toss it around then add a handful of grated parmigiano reggiano mix in. Remove from the heat and you're ready to serve.