If you came to visit me when we lived in Rome, I would’ve made you this pasta. That’s because it’s my favorite pasta recipe I learned living in Italy: Amatriciana.
Like many of the world’s most delicious recipes, this one begins with bacon. Except in Rome it’s pancetta. That smokey flavor gives red sauce a deeper, richer flavor than anything I’d ever tasted on pasta before. A combination I couldn’t stop myself from serving over and over to weary friends who’d made the long journey.
Nothing’s better for jet-lag than a knock-you-out bowl of pasta.
It doesn’t hurt that this particular Amatriciana sauce is awfully simple.
Tips: Making Amatriciana for Kids
- Cut the onion and bacon into very small pieces. Chunks of anything are always open to more scrutiny from the little guys.
- On that note, use crushed tomatoes.
- Don’t worry about the wine. Most of the alcohol burns off, and there’s also this. I’ve cooked with wine hundreds of times and never once seen a knee-high drunk at the table.
- Serve shaved or freshly grated parmesan cheese at the table. Better yet, let the urchins add the cheese themselves. And EVEN better, don’t put a limit on how much cheese they take. Just let them do their thing this time and they’ll love you–and this dish–for it.
- 1 onion, diced
- 4-6 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 can crushed tomatoes, 28 ounces
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil (1 tablespoon dried basil)
- In a large skillet, sautee the onion and bacon together on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the bacon is crispy and the onion becomes soft.
- Use a paper towel to soak up excess oil but leave about a tablespoon in the pan.
- Add garlic and stir, cooking for about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the wine. Scrap the bottom of the pan, picking up any dark (and delicious) bits. Simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and basil then stir. Simmer 10 minutes or more, until your pasta is ready.