Creatively Transforming Food

A Salute to Amatrice, Italy

 

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Pasta All’Amatriciana is a specialty dish of Amatrice, Italy, home of last week’s catastrophic earthquake. On the radio this past weekend, I heard that restaurants near the area were creating this dish and sending proceeds to the affected town. My heart truly breaks for the loss felt by so many.  Considering this dish’s notoriety, I felt that I had to learn how to make it.  I searched around and created a recipe, which in the end, was a proud salute to the people of Amatrice .

Although the recipe calls for bucatini, a spaghetti like pasta with a hollow center used in this regional recipe, it was no where to be found locally. I have since ordered it on Amazon since I know I will definitely make this again. (The picture above has been updated to show bucatini pasta ! ) You know it’s a hit when the picky eater of the house tried it and liked it! Yeah! Big win for me!! Now I know bacon isn’t the best for the body, and we have cut it out from our normal weekend breakfast feasts, but a splurge every now and then probably doesn’t hurt.  Yes, I don’t feel guilty one bit!

Presenting, Pasta All’Amatriciana :

Thick cut naturally smoked (Applewood) bacon was used since it was accepted for use as a replacement for the  Italian version of this which is not readily available. This gave the dish the perfect amount of smoky flavor. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon leaving the bacon “oil”  in the pan.

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The finely chopped red onion and the carrots are added to the bacon grease remaining in the pot.  Sauté them until the onions become translucent. Add the minced cloves of garlic and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

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One half cup of red wine was poured over the vegetables. Allow it to reduce by about half.  ( Merlot was  available so that’s what I used.) Stir in the pepper, red pepper flakes and salt.

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The peeled canned San Marzano tomatoes are crushed by hand and added to the vegetable mixture along with remnants left in the can. Caution: Make sure you are not wearing anything you don’t want stained because they spatter when crushed. Look at the spoon that was sitting in the pan for proof! It is fun, however, to get your hands in it!  You can mash them further with the back of your slotted spoon as you blend them with the pot’s contents.

Now, the picky child mentioned earlier would not touch this in its current form(chunky), so I ladle the contents into my food processor after allowing it to come to a boil to help give it a smoother appearance. I return the sauce  to the pot and allow it to continue to warm up, adding the crispy bacon. Beautiful, isn’t it? Believe me when I say this is fabulous!

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Add the pasta, cooked to al dente, to the sauce. Using  a set of tongs, toss and coat the pasta. Oh my, I wish you could smell the smoky aroma steaming up from this dish! That thick bucatini  pasta just dove right into the sauce to coat itself with this amazingly smoky sauce!

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This should be served with some pecorino romano cheese sprinkled on the top. If you don’t have that, parmesan or parmigiano reggiano  cheese would be just fine. I added some basil chiffonade and served it with my Rosemary Focaccia Bread with freshly made  Pesto  Mama Mia! The picture below is this dish made with regular spaghetti, which is still fabulous! If you can though, try to find this pasta because it does make the dish! Barilla has a version of it in its specialty line, but it comes in a 12 ounce size rather than the pound needed for this recipe. You could, in this case, save some of the sauce on the side to dip bread.

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Pasta All'Amatriciana

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 12 oz. thick cut bacon
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ c. red wine (I used Merlot.)
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • ½ t. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 t. Kosher salt
  • 28 oz. can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Slice bacon into ¼ " strips and cook until golden and slightly crispy on med-low heat; stir so it doesn't stick. Do not overcook!
  2. Remove bacon strips with a slotted spoon to plate with paper towels to absorb extra grease.
  3. Add finely chopped onion and carrots to bacon grease. Stir and cook until onions are transparent.
  4. At this point, add the 3 cloves of minced garlic into add to hand carrot mixture. Stir around until fragrant.
  5. Begin to bring salted pasta water to a boil and time it so it al dente and sauce is being completed.
  6. Pour the red wine into mixture and cook until it is reduced by about ½.
  7. Stir in the black pepper, red pepper flakes and salt.
  8. Crush the peeled tomatoes by hand and add them to the mixture along with contents remaining in the can. Stir to blend with mixture. You can use the back of the slotted spoon to crush further once blended into the sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes on low heat.
  9. If you prefer a smoother sauce, ladle it into a food processor or blender until it reaches your desired consistency.( I have a picky kid; that's why I do this.) Pour this back into pan.
  10. Add the bacon and continue to cook for about another 5 minutes on low heat to spread the smoky flavor throughout the sauce.
  11. Using tongs, add pasta to sauce and stir to coat and to help absorb flavor of this sauce.

 

 


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