Amatriciana is a robustly flavoured sauce from the town of Amatrice in the region of Abbruzzo and is typically made with some form of cured, but not smoked pork. It contains chilli, either fresh or dried, and is normally served with bucatini pasta, but spaghetti is a good alternative. Serves 4 hungry people.
This recipe adapted from Anna del Conte's excellent book The Concise Gastronomy of Italy, Pavilion Books and cooked at the SBS Food Journey Expo 2011.
250g pancetta cut into small battons or cubes
1 red onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh or dried chilli, or to taste, finely chopped.
1/2 cup dry white wine
500g good, ripe tomatoes, peeled, deseeded if necessary, and chopped.
6 or more basil leaves
Freshly grated black pepper.
400g (dry weight) bucatini or spaghetti freshly cooked al dente
Grated pecorino to serve
Fry the pancetta in a saucepan with a little olive oil until it is crisp and brown, and then drain on paper towels and pour off excess fat. Add the onion to the pan and fry gently for about 10 minutes until soft, and then add the garlic and chilli and cook for a few minutes more before adding back the pancetta and the wine. Increase the heat and boil until the wine has reduced by half and then add the tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, but retain some chunkiness. Taste and add black pepper and salt to taste.
Serve with the drained pasta and pass the grated pecorino.