Amatriciana with Fresh Tomatoes, is a delicious Italian Pasta Dish, made with either pancetta or guancialli and fresh tomatoes. It is a fast and easy dinner Idea for any occasion.
Ahhh September, the heat of the summer is over and I can’t wait until it arrives, especially this year! During that time the days are still pretty hot in Italy, but at least it cools down in the evening.
Before we get into the Fall mode, there are so many delicious fruits and vegetables that Summer has to offer, from farmers markets to our own gardens. Especially an Italian favourite, tomatoes, and what’s a great way of using them up?
Well you could always Freeze them but I have a better idea, one of my favourite Pasta dishes is this authentic Amatriciana, today I wanted to make it a little different and use some Fresh Tomatoes. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
- Pancetta/guanciale – I like to use either
- Fresh tomatoes – san marzano or roma tomatoes
- Basil – fresh and ground basil
- Olive oil
- Oregano – ground oregano
- Garlic – fresh garlic cloves finely chopped
- Salt –
- Hot pepper flakes – optional
- Pasta – bucatini, spaghetti or a short pasta such as penne or rigatoni
- Parmigiano cheese – freshly grated for sprinkling on top
What is the difference between pancetta and guanciale?
Pancetta is salt-cured seasoned pork belly, while guanciale is made from seasoned pork cheeks that is cured for at least three months, which as a result has a more intense flavour.
if you can’t find guanciale then you can definitely use pancetta. I personally prefer pancetta, although my daughter swears you can’t make this recipe or Authentic Carbonara without guanciale! So you decide.
How to make Fresh Tomato Amatriciana
Wash tomatoes and place in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and let sit for approximately 10-15 minutes, drain (should be easy to remove the skin, (hold with a fork and remove skin with a knife) be careful because it is very hot), slice tomato in half and remove insides and seeds, chop into large pieces.
In a large pot boil water and cook pasta al dente in salted water. Drain.
In a large-size frying pan add olive oil and chopped pancetta, let cook on low to medium heat until pancetta starts to brown, add the chopped tomatoes and spices, stir to combine, let cook covered for approximately for some minutes, add chopped fresh basil and continue to cook uncovered until thickened.
Gently toss with the cooked al dente pasta and a little pasta water, cook on high heat a minute or two. Serve immediately. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped basil if desired.
How to cook pasta
Always cook the pasta in enough water, you will need 4 cups (1 litre) for 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) of pasta. Be sure to choose the correct size large pot, you don’t want the water to reach the rim and overflow, because pasta, when cooked, can increase in volume up to three times. Always cover the pot when boiling the water, but remove it once the pasta has been added.
Calculate about 7 g of salt for every litre of water. Add the salt only when the water has reached a boil and never before.
After adding the pasta to the salted water, bring it back to a boil and keep it at a boil while the pasta is cooking. This allows the pasta to achieve an even cooking, be sure to stir frequently while it is cooking.
Never pass the freshly drained pasta under running tap water. You should never stop the cooking, even when you are making a cold pasta salad, let it cool by adding a drizzle of olive oil to prevent it from sticking.
Drain the pasta al dente, this is done by tasting, if it has a bite to it it’s ready, nothing worse than mushy pasta. If you have to toss the pasta in a pan with sauce (like this recipe) then cook it at least one minute less (pasta very al dente). And be sure to leave some pasta water to add to the pan.
What does Amatriciana mean?
It is a tomato based sauce, made with guanciale or pancetta and it is usually a little hot and spicy. It originates from the town of Amatrice in the province of Rieti, in the region of northern Lazio which is located in central Italy.
History of Pasta Amatriciana
This pasta dish dates back to the 18th century. It was originally made by shepherds who lived in the hills around Amatrice. They would use guanciale (cured pork cheek), tomatoes, and pecorino cheese to create this hearty and flavorful pasta dish, it would sustain them during their long hard days of work.
What is the best pasta to use?
The classic pasta used in this recipe is bucatini, it is a thick long pasta with a hole in the middle. Although I have to say the Italian prefers “mezze penne rigate”, which is a short pasta with ridges. The ridges are known to hold the sauce better. My mother-in-law would also use spaghetti sometimes too.
How much dried pasta is equal to cooked?
Approximately 1 1/2 to 2 cups is equal to 3 cups cooked. One cup of uncooked pasta is equal to approximately 70 grams (I measured with mezze rigatoni).
How to store the sauce
The sauce can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for two days. It can also be frozen in a freezer safe bag or container. It will last up to three to four months.
So if you are looking for some delicious way to use up those fresh tomatoes I hope you try this Fresh Tomato Amatriciana and let me know what you think! Buon Appetito!
Fresh Tomato Amatriciana
- 7-8 fresh San Marzano or Roma tomatoes (or ripe tomatoes of choice)
- 3-4 cups cooked pasta ( bucatini, spaghetti, penne or rigatoni )
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (40 grams)
- ½ cup chopped pancetta or guanciale (100 grams)
- 1-2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 1-3 pinches salt (depending on how salty the pancetta or guanciale is)
- 1-2 pinches hot pepper flakes (optional)
- 5-7 fresh basil leaves chopped (divided)
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan/parmigiano cheese
- Wash the tomatoes and place in a large bowl, cover them with boiling water and let sit for approximately 10-15 minutes, drain (should be easy to remove the skin, (hold the tomato with a fork and remove skin with a knife) be careful because it is very hot), slice tomato in half and remove insides and seeds, chop into large pieces.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water and cook the pasta al dente.
- While water is boiling and pasta is cooking make the sauce – In a large frying pan or skillet add the olive oil and chopped pancetta, let cook on low to medium heat until pancetta starts to brown, add the garlic, chopped tomatoes, oregano, dried basil, salt and hot pepper flakes stir to combine, let cook covered for approximately 10 minutes, add the chopped fresh basil and continue to cook uncovered until thickened.
- Gently toss with 3 cups of the drained cooked al dente pasta and 2-4 tablespoons of pasta water, cook on medium/high heat a minute or two, continually tossing or gently stirring, serve immediately. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped basil if desired. Enjoy!
Updated from June 12, 2017.