It appears my first few recipe posts all have pasta and tomatoes in common. I’m not going to lie, I love pasta and tomatoes. Pizza is also a favorite, but doesn’t everyone love pizza? I’m pretty passionate about Italian food in general. Regardless if it’s a pasta recipe and includes tomatoes, this dish is really good and warrants sharing. For Christmas I was lucky enough to receive 7 new shiny cookbooks to add to my growing collection. I recently asked a friend if you could ever have to many cookbooks? Their response – “you know you have to many cookbooks if you accidentally start buying duplicates.” I’m not there yet, but getting close. One of the 7 was Mario Batali’s, Molto Gusto. This is my first Mario cookbook and it’s a perfect fit for me. It has a pasta section and a pizza section, score!
At first glance I thought we were making Spaghetti America, but no it’s – Spaghetti all’Amatriciana. While it is a tomato based pasta dish it’s very different than all of the others I normally cook. It has big chunks of red onion, tasty pancetta (Italian bacon) and red pepper flakes for some kick! The tomato sauce is really thick and rich – Yum. In the time it takes to boil water, dinner will be done, 15 – 20 minutes tops.
Spaghetti all’Amatriciana – Not America
From Mario Batali’s Cookbook Molto Gusto
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 oz pancetta cut into bite sized pieces
1 red onion, halved and sliced ½-inch thick
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
¼ cup tomato past (I used a whole 6oz can)
¾ Cup Pomi strained tomatoes reduced (I just used the whole 28oz box)
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only (I omitted, parsley is way overrated)
½ cup Pecorino Romano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Get your water boiling for your spaghetti. Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. In a pot pour the 28oz can of tomatoes and cook over medium heat. You want to cook or reduce the tomatoes until there is no more juice left. (I used the whole 28oz container of Pomi diced tomatoes, I couldn’t find Pomi whole tomatoes and had nothing else to do with the leftovers).
In a frying pan add your olive oil, pancetta and sliced red onion. (if you are looking for a lower fat alternative to the pancetta you may try some thick sliced Canadian bacon cut into cubes). Let your onions and pancetta cook for 7 to 8 minutes until the pancetta is browned and the onions are soft. Add the red pepper flakes to the onions and pancetta, and then stir in the tomatoe paste. (again I used the entire 6oz can).
Now add the reduced Pomi tomatoes to the onion pancetta mixture and combine into one sauce. If its to thick you can add ¼ cup of the pasta water to help thin it out. I like mine really thick, so I didn’t (Actualy I poured all of my pasta water down the drain before I remembered to save some). Mix in some Pecorino Ramano cheese, about a palm full. Strain your pasta and pour it into the pan with your scrumptious tomato sauce. Toss it all together and serve with a dusing of Pecorino Romano on top. It’s a winner! You might serve this with a Caesar salad as a starter. You could also serve a nice red wine with it to fancy it up.