I have been in mood for pasta! Maybe because it’s so easy to prepare and there is a charm in that al dante Barilla no.5 with some olive oil and garlic and some times tomatoes. Can’t imagine I used to not like pasta, all blame to the badly prepared non-Italian version of the dishes.
Willem likes to use only the best quality little sweet cherry tomatoes for his pasta while I am some times a little frugal (ha ha ha) by choosing the bigger cheaper tomatoes in the supermarket. He wasn’t impressed that I was using the big tomatoes until he tasted the pasta. The trick is to cook the big juicy tomatoes until they almost dry out. If you are not frugal, go ahead and use the best quality tomatoes, they do add to the taste.
The classic pasta all’ amatriciana sauce uses only guanciale, pecorino and tomatoes. I had substituted guanciale with pancetta (if you can’t find either, you can replace the guanciale with non-smoke streaky bacon), and I had added some spices to my pasta.
Ingredients (serve 2, the 20 grams difference depending how much you like to eat!):
- 160 – 180 gram pasta of your choice – I had used Barilla no.5 while some like to use bucatini for it “absorbs” more sauce with the fat surface. Personally I did not like “air sucking” effect of the bucatini, there is a tiny hole through the noodle.
- 60-80 gram of pancetta – cut into 5mm thick, more or less half a pen drive size pieces. 60 gram is about 1.5 pieces of pancetta.
- 4 big tomatoes or similar amount of other size tomatoes – chopped in to chunks
- 3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 1 shallot – finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon of dry chili flakes
- Grated pecorino
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
- Few leaves of parsley – finely chopped for garnishing
- Heat up a wide pan with 1.5 tablespoon of olive oil, fry the pancetta until lightly brown on both sides.
- Add chopped shallot into the pan and fry until translucent, add chili flakes, garlic and shortly after, add the tomatoes.
- Cover the pan with a lid, while waiting for the tomatoes to be cooked/soften, start boiling your pasta in salted water according to the instruction on the packaging. Put a timer so you don’t forget the boiling pasta!
- When the tomatoes are completely soft, squash them with your spatula and let the juice dries up, keep stirring so that it does not burn. You will see that the sauce becoming concentrated and you get a thick red tomato sauce now.
- 2 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add 3 tablespoon of pasta boiling water into the sauce, again, allow it to dry up until you get concentrated sauce (but not dry sauce). Sprinkle generous amount of grated black pepper into the sauce.
- When the pasta is cooked, remove the sauce pan from heat, add the drained piping hot pasta and half a tablespoon of pecorino into the sauce and mix well.
- Serve immediately, garnish with parsley and more pecorino.