Penne amatriciana

8 Apr

Penne amatriciana

Pasta amatriciana is a classic Roman dish made with guanciale (cured pork cheek), tomatoes and chilli. Traditionally made with bucatini, I prefer it with penne and seldom use another pasta.

Guanciale being thin on the ground in these parts, I make mine with pancetta or even chopped bacon.

I’ve also gone off piste by finishing the sauce with splash of cream before tossing it with the pasta. At first I did it to soften the heat and make it more family friendly – now it’s just the way I make it.

Penne amatriciana
(serves 4)

  • 500g penne
  • 1/2 cup cubed pancetta
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tb double cream (optional)
  • grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, to serve
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and cook the penne until al dente.
  2. While the water is boiling, cook the pancetta in a large frying pan over medium heat until the fat is released and the meat browned.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened.
  4. Add the chilli flakes, and tomatoes. Season to taste and simmer until thickened. Stir through the cream, if using.
  5. Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving some of the water. Add to the pan of sauce, tossing to coat. Add a little of the reserved water to loosen the sauce if necessary.
  6. Scatter with the grated cheese and serve.

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