23 February 2010

Leave the gun, take the cannoli

I was talking to Frank this evening, as he was organising his evening meal.  It was pasta with a tomato-based vegetable sauce.  Nice and simple.  This got me thinking (very painful, I assure you) - it's been too long since I made pasta all'amatriciana.  Sounds super-fancy, right?  It's not.  Basic tomato sugo, with bacon and, in my case, chilli, served on your choice of pasta, traditionally spaghetti.  Personally I like it with penne.  If you're wondering about the title of this post (if you weren't, you probably are now), it's from The Godfather.  The chilli in it reminds me of Sicilia, hence the Godfather link.  Awesome film.  If you haven't watched it, do.  If you have, watch it again. 

Pasta all'amatriciana comes from the central Italian town of Amatrice, in Lazio.  Tradionally made with some part of pork and pecorino cheese, nowadays it's a tomato-based sauce, with bacon and pecorino.  Additions of onion, garlic, olives, chilli etc are fairly common, based on personal taste.  I refrain from adding any onion or olives, as I also love making a tomato-based olivey-capery tomato sugo, and would hate the two to start tasting the same, you know?  So, this is how I make it - buon appetito!!   

1 clove garlic
2 tbsps olive oil
1 or 2 tsp fresh chilli or dried chilli flakes
bacon - about 6 slices (12, if using rashers)
400g tin crushed tomatoes
parmasan/pecorino/romano cheese
salt & pepper
500 g pasta / 1 packet spaghetti
  1. Cut the bacon into small pieces (1cm squares, roughly).
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan, add garlic clove (whole, just used to flavour the oil).  After a couple of minutes add the bacon and cook on high heat until getting nice and browned.  Turn down heat, add chilli, stir, add tomatoes, stir.
  3. While sugo is simmering bring large pot of water to boil, add salt.  Add pasta once boiling.  Cook as per instructions on packet (usually about 12 minutes).  
  4. Once pasta is cooked, drain, stir through a little oil (stops pasta sticking to each other). 
  5. Add pasta to pan of sauce, season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Serve with sprinkling of grated cheese. 
Remember, with the chilli, that less is often more.  Especcially if you're serving it to others!  Nothing worse than not being able to eat the meal.  Also, make sure that with fresh chilli you know how hot the variety is that you're buying - some chillis are 10x spicier than others, and colour and size are not always a foolproof guide.  I've made THAT mistake before! 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds so gorgeous...I love simple Italian pasta dishes. And also nice Godfather reference :)