Pasta amatriciana (in Italian: pasta all’amatriciana) probably derives from the introduction of tomato in the gricia pasta recipe. At the end of the eighteenth century the inhabitants of Amatrice, whose territory was part of the Kingdom of Naples, had the happy idea of adding the tomato to the ingredients of the pasta alla gricia recipe.
The pasta amatriciana recipe has partly changed over the years. Let’s see how to prepare amatriciana pasta according to a recipe that we believe is very successful.
PASTA AMATRICIANA INGREDIENTS FOR 4 PERSONS
- Pasta 320 g
- Guanciale 120 g
- 6 San Marzano fresh tomatoes or 350 g high-quality preserved tomatoes;
- Pecorino di Amatrice 150 g
- Ground black pepper to taste
- To prepare pasta amatriciana, start setting a pot of water on the stove and turn the burner to high.
- Grate the pecorino in a large bowl, which will then contain all the ingredients.
- When the water boils, add a little coarse salt and the pasta.
- Remove the pork rind from the guanciale. Cut it into strips, and then brown it in a pan without oil until it becomes slightly dark and crunchy. Guanciale will release some fat: you can set it aside and then use it, or eliminate it.
- Remove the guanciale and fat from the pan and add the tomatoes. Add a little salt, stir and cook over high heat for about 15 minutes.
- Add the guanciale strips to the sauce, possibly together with the fat released, and mix well.
- Pour the sauce in the bowl.
- Set aside a little cooking water, and drain the pasta al dente.
- Add the pasta to the other ingredients and mix well. If the consistency appears too “dry", add a little cooking water.
- Serve, and add to the dishes a right amount (without overdoing it) of fresh ground pepper,
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PASTA AMATRICIANA ORIGINAL RECIPE AND EVOLUTIONS
As we said at the beginning, at the end of the eighteenth century the inhabitants of Amatrice, whose territory was part of the Kingdom of Naples, with a happy intuition added tomatoes to the ingredients of the pasta alla gricia recipe. And then, what happened?
The recipe in Il talismano della felicità by Ada Boni
The recipe of pasta with amatriciana sauce is perhaps reported for the firs time in Il talismano della felicità (The talisman of happiness) by Ada Boni.
In the recipe of Il talismano della felicità the guanciale (Italian cured meat product prepared from pork jowl or cheek, whose name is derived from guancia, that translates cheek) is minced and sautéed with lard and onion; fresh peeled tomatoes are added. Spaghetti is seasoned with this sauce and with the addition of pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano, or a mixture of the two cheeses, and plenty of pepper.
Later evolution of the pasta with amatriciana sauce
During the period of the Italian economic boom, the recipe for amatriciana sauce features only guanciale (from Amatrice), tomato, pecorino and chilli. Today the onion tends not to be used. In the Disciplinary of production of amatriciana sauce approved in 2015, and partially modified in 2016 by the Municipality of Amatrice, among the ingredients there is white wine, used to blend the guanciale. Furthermore, there is the possibility of using peeled tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes. Chili is considered optional, while pecorino, normally considered essential for the success of the recipe, is indicated as a “recommended pairing".
SOME TIPS OR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
- Normally for the pasta amatriciana recipe Spaghetti or Bucatini pasta is used. However, also Rigatoni are a pasta format that goes well with amatriciana sauce.
- To prepare the amatriciana sauce you can use fresh or preserved San Marzano tomatoes. If you intend to use fresh San Marzano tomatoes, before adding them, blanch them.
- Pasta amatriciana calories: a portion of pasta with amatriciana sauce brings about 650 calories. The calories derive mainly from the guanciale, whose caloric intake is 655 kcal per 100 g
- Amatriciana sauce is included in the list of traditional agri-food products of the Lazio region (GU n. 141 dated 20/06/2014).