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Amatriciana is a traditional Italian pasta sauce from the region of Amatrice and is based on guanciale (cured pork cheek), tomatoes and pecorino cheese. My version lightens it up with fresh tomatoes and pancetta, while adding a little fire from dried chillis. You can whip it up in under 20 minutes and the flavours are amazing.
2 tablespoons olive oil
150 grams pancetta, cut into 1cm cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
40ml white wine
2 small dried chillis, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
200 grams spaghetti (dried or fresh)
pecorino or Parmesan cheese for grating
Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Place a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
Heat the olive oil in a large frypan on a medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes until golden and crisp.
Reduce the heat slightly, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. (Take care not to let the garlic burn.)
Once the garlic starts to go golden, add the wine and cook for a further minute, then add the chilli and tomatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes until the tomatoes have reduced and become ‘saucy’. If it’s too thick, add a few tablespoons of the pasta water to help thin it down.
While the sauce is bubbling away, add your spaghetti to the boiling water.
Once cooked, use tongs to transfer the spaghetti into the pan with the sauce and toss until well coated. If it’s still too thick, a few splashes of pasta water will loosen it all up.
To serve, divide between two plates, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and shower with grated pecorino.