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.
I [Heart] Shortcut Vegetables
Now about that broccoli. When I’m making a dish from scratch, no matter how simple, it’s nice to take a shortcut elsewhere. You know, on the off chance that I am interrupted somewhere between 1 and 217 times during the process of making dinner.
In this case, a simple bag of Green Giant Frozen Broccoli was ready in 3 minutes, zapped in the microwave before being slathered with fresh olive oil, salt and pepper. And remember that parmesan cheese? This is another place to let the little guys sprinkle it on.
- 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.