Penne All'amatriciana

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Submitted by Ishamael

Pasta with a spicy, smoky red sauce. And easy, too!

Spicy, Smoky Deliciousness![edit]

Well, a lot of people seemed to like the Baked Ziti thread, so here is another Italian recipe. But due to popular demand, this is a much simpler one. Once you have everything chopped and ready to go, you can be eating it in about 20 minutes or so.

I got this recipe from a cookbook a while back, but I don't remember where from. So I may have deviated some from the recipe since then, but I love it.

Your final product will be pasta tossed with a smoky, spicy red sauce. You can control the heat yourself, but I would recommend starting with the amount of pepper flakes in the recipe, and then if you want it hotter you can add more next time.

Here we go!


You will need the following:

  • 1 pound penne, or any tube pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound, (4 or 5 slices) pancetta, chopped (more about this later)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1( 28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Here are the ingredients:



First, chop up your onion.


Then, chop up your 4-6 cloves of garlic. If you have rubber gloves or something, wear them. Garlic stink is hard to get off your hands, and while it might smell good now, when you're running around the track in 90 degree weather next week, it will not be as enjoyable.

I put my garlic in a shiny little bowl that looks cool under a flash:


Ok, now we come to the pancetta. Pancetta is a cured Italian ham, similar to bacon in many ways. It gives the sauce a very smoky flavor that is just fantastic. You can technically use normal bacon in this, but most delis carry pancetta. It's worth it to get the right stuff, because the bacon taste can be a little overpowering if you use standard bacon.

You don't need much, just 1/4 of a pound. At my deli that comes out to about $2.50, which isn't too bad. Get it sliced kinda thick, like this:


and then chop it up, like so.


Chop up about 2 tablespoons worth of fresh parsley. Again the shiny bowls come to the rescue! 6-parsley.jpg

Before you do the next part, put a pot of water on to boil, for pasta. It has to be big enough to hold a whole box of pasta (1 lb.). Let that come to a boil while you do the rest.

Pour about 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil into a large, deep skillet on med-high heat. I use my cast iron skillet because I love it. Some people say tomatoes are bad for cast iron, but that's bullshit, and I know it is because Alton Brown told me so!

Anyhow, then add your pancetta and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Your house will fill with a baconish smell that is really quite nice.

7-pancetta cook.jpg

Then, add the onion, garlic, and 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes.

8-add onion.jpg

Cook this for about 7-8 minutes. It will brown up and the onions will turn translucent. By this point your entire household will be crowded around to see what the incredible smell is.


Check on your water, it should be boiling. Add your box of pasta and start cooking it.

Back at the sauce, add your big can of crushed tomatoes and the parsley, and stir it all together. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Let it simmer over low heat until the pasta is ready.


Now, if you've timed this well, your pasta will be done soon. Once it's done to your standards (not too mushy, it will soak up sauce!), drain it.


Then, add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce.

12-add pasta.jpg

Mix it all together and heat through. Voila!


This was a big hit at this week's Sopranos party, sadly the last one for a while. We had parmesan cheese at the table to top it, and started the meal with a simple caprese salad and some red wine. Don't forget the garlic bread.