Amatriciana is a traditional Italian pasta dish that originated from the town of Amatrice in central Italy. The ingredients are simple – tomato sauce, guanciale (Italian cured pork cheek), Pecorino Romano cheese, and black pepper. With the right preparation, it becomes heartwarming comfort food. We can say that this dish started the career of Chef Francesco Lenzi from the 2023 MICHELIN-selected Nonna Nella by Lenzi and Lenzi Tuscan Kitchen.
Chef Lenzi was only 12 years old when he cooked Amatriciana for the first time at a boy scout camp. He tells us how close to his heart this dish is. “What makes this grandma’s pasta recipe special is the spaghetti we make fresh every day. The guanciale is delivered from my uncle’s farm in Italy’s Lucca. The tomatoes are imported from Abruzzo. They give out fresh and intense taste. Amatriciana is a simple dish. There are only a few steps. But you have to cook it with heart.”
And here’s his recipe you can attempt at home.
- Peeled tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pecorino Romano
- Black pepper
- Remove the pork rind from the guanciale and dice it.
- Deseed the peeled tomatoes and chop them.
- Brown the diced guanciale until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Pour the chopped tomatoes into the pan that you just browned the guanciale in.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of water. Simmer sauce until the sauce thickens.
- Boil water in a separate pot over low heat for 7 minutes.
- Add the pasta in and cook until al dente.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce in the pan.
- Add the guanciale and 2-3 spoons of water.
- Sauté the ingredients for 1-2 minutes before adding the extra virgin olive oil. Mix well.
- Turn off the heat.
- Grate and sprinkle the Pecorino Romano.
- Mix all the ingredients together. (You can add 1-2 tablespoons of water).
- Serve the delicious pasta! (Grate on more Pecorino Romano if you’d like).
Tips from the chef:
- Chef Lenzi’s concept for this dish is “simple is the best”. Amatriciana is easy to make and is soul soothing. Quality ingredients are the key to its fulfilling tastes.
- Pecorino Romano is highly salty. Be careful if you want to add more salt.
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Illustration image: © Nonna Nella by Lenzi