With summer still upon us, we couldn’t help but think about a recipe that doesn’t require the oven, is quick and easy, and uses up some of those tomatoes that keep coming off the vine. It’s one of Maria Elena’s go-to pasta recipes. The sauce originated in the town of Amatrice, Italy, hence its name. According to some, Amatriciana is one of the best known pasta sauces in present-day Roman and Italian cuisine. While the recipe (which we share from the New York Times), calls for a 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes, you can use garden fresh ones for a more fresh taste. Purists may frown at this suggestion of not using stewed tomatoes, so try it both ways and let us know which you prefer. The following recipe serves four.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces guanciale or pancetta, chopped into ¼-inch cubes (¾ cup)
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed with your hands in a bowl (or a pound of fresh Roma tomatoes)
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
- 1 pound dried bucatini pasta
- ¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish
- In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat olive oil over medium. Add guanciale and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. To the skillet, add tomatoes, black pepper and red-pepper flakes, and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally and smashing tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon, until tomatoes have broken down and sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water, cook pasta according to package directions until just shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain.
- Add pasta, tomato sauce and ½ cup of pasta cooking water back to the large pasta pot and stir vigorously over medium-high heat until pasta is evenly coated in the sauce, about 1 minute. (Add more pasta water if sauce is dry.) Remove from heat, stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt.