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In Rome, red sauce is rich, hearty and... barely there?
Milk Street Bowtie Pasta all'Amatriciana

Pasta all'Amatriciana

Appears in May-June 2018

30 minutes

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Pasta all'Amatriciana

Free

Amatriciana is a minimalist equation of pasta, tomatoes, guanciale and pecorino Romano cheese, and in Rome it’s served with barely any sauce, as we learned from Mario Ive, retired artillery colonel in the Italian army and cookbook author. The cooking method—using as little liquid as possible when cooking the sauce—concentrates flavors in the sauce, which coats the pasta nicely. We apply that principle for the pasta in this recipe, as well, cooking spaghetti in half the amount of water (2 quarts) we usually use. To that we add a chunk of pecorino Romano, which infuses the noodles with rich, savory flavor. We also undercook the pasta, allowing it to finish cooking in the sauce. One 14½-ounce can of whole tomatoes, drained and cooked down, is plenty to dress four servings. Likewise, just 3 ounces of pancetta—more widely available than guanciale—provides ample flavor. Be sure to purchase thinly sliced pancetta and chop it finely to ensure the pieces crisp well.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t boil the pasta until al dente. Drain it when it's a minute or two shy of al dente; it will continue to cook when added to the sauce in the skillet.

30 minutes

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
10 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 14½-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, juices reserved, tomatoes crushed by hand into small pieces
1 1-ounce chunk pecorino Romano cheese, plus more finely grated, to serve
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
12 ounces spaghetti
Ingredients
  • 3

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 3

    ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped

  • 10

    medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • ½
  • ¾

    cup dry white wine

  • 1

    14½-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, juices reserved, tomatoes crushed by hand into small pieces

  • 1

    1-ounce chunk pecorino Romano cheese, plus more finely grated, to serve

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 12

    ounces spaghetti

Directions
  1. 01
    In a 12-inch skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until well-browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and set aside.
    See Demo
  2. 02
    Return the skillet to medium and add the garlic; cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine, increase to medium-high and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the drained tomatoes and cook, stirring, until heated, about 2 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the reserved tomato juice, then remove from the heat.
    See Demo
  3. 03
    Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water and the pecorino chunk to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the cheese from sticking to the pot. Stir in the pasta and 1 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring often, until the pasta is just shy of al dente. Remove and discard the pecorino, then drain the pasta in a colander set in a large heat-safe bowl; reserve the cooking water.
    See Demo
  4. 04
    Set the skillet over medium-high, stir in 1½ cups of the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add the drained pasta, tossing with tongs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 3 to 6 minutes. Off heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the pancetta and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with grated pecorino on the side.
    See Demo
Tip: Don’t boil the pasta until al dente. Drain it when it's a minute or two shy of al dente; it will continue to cook when added to the sauce in the skillet.
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Pasta all'Amatriciana

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

30 minutes

Tip

Don’t boil the pasta until al dente. Drain it when it's a minute or two shy of al dente; it will continue to cook when added to the sauce in the skillet.

Ingredients
  • 3

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 3

    ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped

  • 10

    medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • ½
  • ¾

    cup dry white wine

  • 1

    14½-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, juices reserved, tomatoes crushed by hand into small pieces

  • 1

    1-ounce chunk pecorino Romano cheese, plus more finely grated, to serve

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 12

    ounces spaghetti

Step 1 of 4

Cook the pancetta

1
tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3
ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped

In a 12-inch skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until well-browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and set aside.

Step 2 of 4

Continue to cook

10
medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½
teaspoon red pepper flakes
¾
cup dry white wine
1
14½-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, juices reserved, tomatoes crushed by hand into small pieces

Return the skillet to medium and add the garlic; cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Add the wine, increase to medium-high and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the drained tomatoes and cook, stirring, until heated, about 2 minutes.


Stir in 3 tablespoons of the reserved tomato juice, then remove from the heat.

Step 3 of 4

Cook the pasta

1
1-ounce chunk pecorino Romano cheese
12
ounces spaghetti
2
teaspoons salt

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water and the pecorino chunk to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the cheese from sticking to the pot. Stir in the pasta and 1 teaspoons salt.


Cook, stirring often, until the pasta is just shy of al dente. Remove and discard the pecorino, then drain the pasta in a colander set in a large heat-safe bowl; reserve the cooking water.

Step 4 of 4

Finish and serve

2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2
teaspoons ground black pepper
finely grated pecorino Romano, to serve

Set the skillet over medium-high, stir in 1½ cups of the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add the drained pasta, tossing with tongs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 3 to 6 minutes.


Off heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the pancetta and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with grated pecorino on the side.

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