spaghetti all’amatriciana

Spaghetti all'amatriciana
Spaghetti all’amatriciana

Conscious of the fact that chilli has so far made a pretty regular appearance in this blog, I’d originally planned to temporarily ease up on the spice and save this recipe for my take on spaghetti all’amatriciana for a later date. However, the news of the devastating earthquake in central Italy on Wednesday moved me to follow the example of chefs around the world who are serving up this dish to honour the earthquake’s victims. More than 230 lives were lost in the town of Amatrice, where pasta all’amatriciana was invented. To support the families affected by the disaster, many of the chefs who are featuring the dish in their menus have pledged to donate some of the proceeds to the relief appeal.

This Italian classic is full of flavour and so simple to prepare. Although it’s traditionally made with guanciale (cured pig cheek), you might struggle to find this ingredient if you don’t live in Italy, so I’ve opted for pancetta or bacon instead. The smoky tomato-based sauce is livened up with the addition of garlic and my old favourite, chilli. My version of the dish is a bit saucier than more authentic recipes so, if you want to stretch it to three portions, all you’ll need is some extra pasta.

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Spaghetti all'amatriciana
  1. Bring a medium-sized saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and simmer for the amount of time indicated on the packet (usually 10-12 minutes).
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is hot, add the pancetta/bacon. Fry for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chilli and garlic. Fry for a further 2-3 minutes until the pancetta/bacon is crisp and golden brown.
  4. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the drained spaghetti to the frying pan and stir until the pasta is thoroughly coated with the sauce.
  1. Arrange the pasta on plates and spoon over any leftover sauce from the frying pan. Then sprinkle over the Parmesan/Grana Padano.
Recipe Notes

If you're throwing this dish together at the last minute and haven't managed to get to get hold of a fresh chilli, you can use dried chilli flakes instead. About ½ tsp will make the sauce moderately spicy, although of course you can adjust this according to taste.

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