In the past we have spent a lot of time at the festival of the pasta all’amatriciana in Amatrice. The fact that Amatrice is close to Rome (about 3 hours by car) has made it an habitual destination during our late summer out of town trips.
It’s a festival that brings together the love for cooking and the choice of fresh ingredients. Also it’s very well organized. The result is a plate of spaghetti always al dente (in spite of the large request), with a thick sauce, savory and a good glass of wine on the side.
We hope to see Amatrice rebuilt soon and we hope to be able to get back there for the festival of the amatriciana. In the meantime we are pleased to tell you the original recipe of the amatriciana, the recipe that is printed in the trays of the festival and that is also featured in the Comune of Amatrice website.
That thing that sticks out immediately about the original recipe is the fact that doesn’t include neither the onion nor the garlic. But it does include the cheek lard, which is more exquisite than the common bacon.
Spaghetti: 500 g,
Amatrice’s guanciale (cheek lard): 125 g,
Extra virgin olive oil: 1 tablespoon,
A tiny bit of dry white wine,
San Marzano tomatoes: 6 or 7; peeled tomatoes: 400 g,
A small piece of hot pepper,
Amatrice’s grated pecorino cheese: 100 g
The quantity of cheek lard in the plate has to be about ¼ of the spaghetti quantity otherwise what you’re making is not amatriciana. At least that’s what Amatrice’s cooks claim.
You start by browning in a pan the oil, the hot pepper and the bits of cheek lard. You then add the wine.
You take out the bits of cheek lards from the pan. You let the oil leak off the bits and you save them for now possibly keeping them hot. You want to keep them hot to make sure that they remain soft and savory and not dry.
Then you add the peeled tomatoes or the San Marzano sliced tomatoes to the olive oil. Before you do this you may want to take out the seeds off the tomatoes and the skin (boil them to remove the skin). Add salt and let the sauce cook for a few minutes.
Finally, take out the hot pepper, put back in the cheek lard bits and stir the sauce nicely.
In the meantime, boil the pasta in salted water and take it out al dente. Then drop it in a mixing bowl and add the grated pecorino cheese. After a few seconds you can add the sauce. Mix the whole thing and add more pecorino cheese if needed.
You can make pasta all’amatriciana using rigatoni instead of spaghetti. It may not be the original recipe but we like it so much!
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