There are 4 classic Roman pasta dishes. You know how to make two of them. Cacio e Pepe and carbonara. There are two left. Pasta Alla Gricia and Amatriciana. Before tomatoes were introduced to the region surrounding Rome, Italians relied on animal fats and cheeses to make their pastas. Pasta Alla Gricia is very similar to Cacio e pepe, but with guanciale and it’s fat. Then tomatoes were introduced and was added to Alla gricia, transforming it to what we know as Amatriciana. Essentially a tomato sauce cooked in pork fat to give it flavor and seasoned with black pepper and pecorino. It’s delicious. Learn how it’s done.
1 lb Bucatini (or any other pasta)
3/4 lb Guanciale/Pancetta/Bacon, cut into uniform slices
1 Cup, Pecorino Cheese
1 24 oz Can Whole Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Salt for the pasta water
Get a pot of water on the stove and get that up to temperature.
Cut the Guanciale/pancetta/bacon into thin little strips. If the exterior of whatever meat you are using is dried out, make sure you cut it off before cooking. Set that aside.
If you like a smoother textured sauce, I recommend running your tomatoes through a food mill. (See video) Otherwise you can just crush the whole tomatoes with your hands for a more rustic and authentic take on this recipe. But I prefer my sauce smoother. So I puree mine. Set that aside.
Grate your cheese so you have it ready. Then bring everything over to the stove.
Through the Guanciale/pancetta/bacon slices into a cold pan and over medium heat, slowly but completely render out the fat and brown the meat. Once the meat is browned and the fat is rendered and is in the pan, add some fresh cracked pepper to the fat and let that bloom for a minute. Then add the tomatoes. No need to add salt, the pork should add enough salt to season the tomatoes and the fat should help kill some of the acidity. Then mixed that together well and let that simmer until the reduces and thickens nicely.
Drop the pasta at this point and cook it 2 minutes less than the package instructs. 2 minutes before al dente, add the pasta to the tomato sauce and begin to marry the sauce and the pasta and finish cooking in the sauce. Once the sauce starts to coat the pasta and the pasta is al dente, add some cheese, give it one final mix and then you’re ready to plate.
Plate and garnish with more pecorino cheese and a little extra fresh cracked black pepper.
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