Video: Pasta all'Amatriciana
Italian Cuisine from the Heart: Eating for Solidarity

Pasta all'Amatriciana means "pasta the way they make it in Amatrice," a town in northern Lazio in Riete province near the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. The town has been quite damaged by a recent earthquake, but will rise again if you eat all your spaghetti all'Amatriciana and the stones get picked up and reused.

First off, the recipe used in the video below requires a little explanation. This is not the correct recipe. No, the correct way to make pasta all'Amatriciana is to use guanciale (cured pork cheek) in place of what we show above, pancetta. Pancetta is more readily available, however, and is widely used in this dish in Italian restaurants. If you're in the US, or in a vacation rental in Italy outside of Lazio, you might be better off with this recipe for the sauce, since it should be easy to procure any of the ingredients, wherever you are. The dish is finished off with a good Pecorino, which gives it more zip than Parmigiano, and defines it as a rustic, rural dish from a region where sheep thrive better than cows. We've also used a type of pasta that's not allowed to be used with this sauce, and doesn't go with it to tell the truth, but it was on hand. It's not something one should be proud of. Use spaghetti--or Bucatini if you have it. Otherwise, use what's in the house, just don't tell die-hard Amatriciana fans about your heathen desregard for tradition (and really, Italians have thought these things out very, very well and the sauce is better with the pasta that it's designed for). Also, many cooks like to use lots of black pepper instead of the hot red ones.

If you want the local rules, Divina Cucina, Author of Secrets From My Tuscan Kitchen, provides them in Amatriciana for Amatrice- #virtualsagra

  • They use guanciale, like pancetta but from the jowls not the belly- NEVER USE BACON. (Editor's note: Why? And why can you eat pancetta "raw" despite the fact it looks a whole lot like bacon? Well, unlike Pancetta, which is cured, American industrial crap bacon is raw pork belly soaked for a time in the chemical concoction called Liquid Smoke. It generally isn't cured or smoked at all. Why? Curing removes liquids amounting to about 30% of weight, and the industrial giants don't want to lose the revenue; the liquid is why your bacon spits when you lay it in a hot pan)
  • They saute with lard, not olive oil. In Amatrice, no garlic , no onion.
  • When the guanciale is browned, some splash with white wine, then remove the pancetta, add the tomato and cook down, adding the pancetta back in when they add the pasta.
  • Spaghetti not other pasta ( recipes suggest DeCecco 12) in Rome they use Bucatini.
  • Pasta is always cooked in salted water, drained when just al dente and then finished in the pan with the sauce, so it absorbs the sauce.
  • They use a local pecorino cheese, NOT pecorino romano, too salty, grated on top. ( Tuscan aged pecorino is similar)

So, never, ever prepare it like in the video for your real Italian friends. I'm serious. But in your own home, with a towel over the camera on your laptop, you should be fine.

After all, the point of this video is to show you how absolutely easy this incredible dish is to make.

Thus, this is a Deviant Pasta all'Amatriciana. You should feel a little naughty if you make it this way, which is sometimes a very good thing.

Plan a Trip: Lazio Travel Resources

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