Pasta alla Amatriciana

Pasta with cheese!

It was a long three weeks of traveling on the East Coast, but I’m finally back in California just in time to experience a heat wave of 80 degree weather and perfectly clear blue skies.  As much as traveling for work can be exhausting, I was very grateful to stay with friends or family during a vast majority of the trip.  I am doubly grateful that the people I visited know how to cook, because there was an outpouring of some of the most delicious homemade food I’ve had in a long time.  There were mushroom ravioli with mushroom tomato sauce and Parmesan, a ball of fresh mozzarella, and finally pasta alla Amatriciana.  This last dish I watched my Italian friend cook towards the end of my trip and thought I would try my hand at it when I got home.  The ingredients list is short and the preparation is fairly simple for such a phenomenally delicious dish.  But what did you expect when bacon and Pecorino Romano are involved?

Pan of pasta

Pasta alla Amatriciana
(serves 2)
1 recipe tomato sauce (see below)
Pasta for two people (such as spaghetti)
Pecorino romano, grated, to serve

1. Make the sauce (see instructions below).

2. Cook the pasta in salted water until it is al dente and drain.

3. Mix the sauce in with the pasta and stir to coat.  Pass a grater and the Pecorino Romano around the table so everyone can cheese their pasta – just remember the cheese is an addition, not the focus (that would be the tomato sauce with bacon!).

Sauce
Olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
5 slices bacon, cut into pieces, large chunks of fat removed
4 medium to large tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt

1. Cook the onions in a drizzle of olive oil in tall-sided skillet with a bit of water.

2.  While the onions cook, chop the bacon.  Then peel and de-stem the tomatoes, and chop roughly.

3. When the onion is mostly cooked (soft, but not browned), add the bacon and a bit more water.

4. When the bacon is cooked, add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and a sprinkle of salt.  Stir the sauce and then cover the skillet and cook on low to medium heat until the tomato has broken down.  The sauce will have chunks of tomato, but otherwise should taste like cooked tomato sauce with most of the water evaporated.

Pasta close-up

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