For the past month, recipes we make at home have to line up with the following criteria: few ingredients, quick to make, and utterly delicious. That’s what you’ll find below in this fancy-sounding pasta dish, a classic Italian pantry staple that, with seven ingredients, delivers on all three criteria. It’s a luscious tomato sauce that’s spiked with red pepper flakes (leave them out if you don’t like spice) and whatever pork product you have at home. I’ve listed the classic guanciale first, which is what the Italians use and I can rarely find on the Island, but followed up with pancetta or bacon. Heck, don’t have any of those but have deli ham or salami? Use that! Sure, it won’t be as authentic as the grandmas make it in Italy, but that’s not the point right now. We’re all just trying to survive, to feed ourselves and our families, and hopefully, have a good time cooking while making the recipe.
From your pantry, you’ll grab oil (olive is best but use canola if that’s what you have), red pepper flakes, black pepper, a large can of peeled tomatoes, and the spaghetti. Head to your fridge and grab the pork product, onion, and cheese. Yes, I know people keep onions on the counter but I don’t have the space for that. Now, you’re off to the races, because this dinner comes together in under 30 minutes!
Spaghetti all Amatriciana
Serves 1-4, depending on how much you love pasta
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup chopped guanciale, pancetta, or bacon
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 28-oz. can peeled tomatoes with juices, crushed by hand
1 pound dried spaghetti
1/4 cup finely grated hard cheese
In a large sauté pan, heat up oil and add chopped pork product. Cook over medium high heat until crispy. Remove from the pan.
Sauté the red pepper flakes, black pepper, and onions in the leftover oil/pork fat until softened, about 10 minutes over medium heat.
Add tomatoes that have been crushed, lower heat and season with salt. Simmer for 10 more minutes.
In the meantime, cook the pasta al dente.
Once pasta is cooked, drain (save some water to add to sauce) and transfer to sauce and fold in along with cheese, letting the pasta simmer with the sauce and a bit of pasta water together for five minutes to incorporate. Serve immediately.