Pasta all’Amatriciana with Pancetta

Pasta all’Amatriciana is a classic Roman dish, featuring a robust, slightly spicy tomato sauce with cured pork jowl, known as guanciale (pronounced gwan-chee-all-eh).

I honestly accidentally ordered this item at a restaurant in Rome..

I was debating between the pasta all’Amatriciana and the eggplant parmesan, and had fully decided on the eggplant parm.

But when the waiter came to take my order… all’Amatriciana popped out of my mouth!!

Oops!

But OMG, what a happy mistake it was.

The rigatoni came out piping hot, thickly coated in a spicy silky tomato sauce with nice chunky pieces of golden guanciale.

Basically, it was instantly my new favorite pasta.

And so simple, too!

A true testament to keeping things basic and letting the ingredients shine.

PS- If you’re ever in Rome, the restaurant I’m talking about is La Tavernaccia in the Trastavere region. It’s a little out of the way, but so so so worth it.

We also ordered the roasted suckling pig & the lardo & honey bruschetta, and were blown away by all of it!

And how adorable is it that they hand-write their menus each day 🙂 Thankfully, they spoke English & even had a hand written English version of the menu.

Plus, it’s nice to know you’re supporting a family run restaurant, rather than one of a million lackluster tourist traps.

So, here we are, nearly 9 months later, and I’ve just now gotten around to recreating that magical dish.

But this time, I went with bucatini, rather than rigatoni, because I wanted those twirlable, twistable noodles that are so fun to eat.

And of course, none of the stores near me sell guanciale (boooo), so I swapped in pancetta instead.

Honestly, it was still just as delicious!

All’Amatriciana is super simple to make.

It’s just pancetta, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, white wine, and tomatoes, topped with high quality grated romano cheese.

And please, don’t buy crappy cheap tomatoes for this dish. It won’t turn out well.

I used Cento brand crushed tomatoes, which I love, because they are not watery at all, which = tons of flavor in every bite and a wonderfully thick sauce.

This pasta is a loving act of patience for such a simple dish, but it still comes together in about an hour from start to finish.

So worth it!

Serve with Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pepitas and get ready for a FABULOUS meal.

 

5 from 3 votes
Pasta all'Amatriciana with Pancetta
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 small bottle chardonnay (187 mL)
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (preferably Cento brand)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried bucatini pasta
  • 1 cup grated Romano cheese, for serving
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley, for serving
Instructions
  1. Add the olive oil to a large nonstick saute pan, and warm over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes, until golden brown all over. 

  2. Turn off the heat, and use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta from the pan and onto a plate to cool and crisp. 

  3. Keep the drippings in the pan, and warm over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, for another 6 minutes or so, until the onions are tender and just starting to turn golden. If the garlic seems to be cooking too fast or on the verge of burning, turn down the heat as needed. 

  4. When the onions are done, add the chardonnay and cook for two minutes to let some of the wine cook off. 

  5. Add the pancetta and any accumulated juice back to the pan. Stir to combine with the wine and onion mixture. 

  6. Next, add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning or sticking. 

  7. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When there's about 10 minutes left on the pasta sauce, add the bucatini to the large pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions until just al dente, about 9 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water before draining, then drain the pasta. 

  8. Add the pasta to to pan with the tomato sauce, and toss to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking water to thin the sauce a bit, and continue to toss the pasta to coat. Increase the heat to medium, and cook for a few more minutes, tossing the noodles in the sause, letting it thicken and nicely coat each noodle. 

  9. Once the sauce is thick and evenly coating the pasta, turn off the heat and serve the pasta into bowls. Top generously with grated Romano cheese, freshly cracked salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. 

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Lemon Parmesan Spaghetti with Fried Capers and Shrimp

Lemon Parmesan Spaghetti with Fried Capers and Shrimp | Quick, pescatarian pasta dish, with creamy noodles, shrimp, and fresh basil. | ericajulson.com

Fried capers.

Have you tried them?

They are magical bites of crispy, salty, briny goodness.

And they make pasta amazing.

Lemon Parmesan Spaghetti with Fried Capers and Shrimp | Quick, pescatarian pasta dish, with creamy noodles, shrimp, and fresh basil. | ericajulson.com

Especially simple pastas.

Like this spaghetti with lemon-parmesan sauce & pan seared shrimp.

The flavors of this dish, overall, are pretty basic:

  • Tart lemon
  • Salty and savory Parmesan cheese
  • Lusciously smooth & fruity olive oil
  • Buttery & slightly sweet shrimp
  • Fresh and vibrant basil

On their own, this combination of ingredients is pretty solid.

But, sprinkle a few crispy crunchy fried capers on top, and oooo baby, now your dish is SPECIAL.

Lemon Parmesan Spaghetti with Fried Capers and Shrimp | Quick, pescatarian pasta dish, with creamy noodles, shrimp, and fresh basil. | ericajulson.com

This meal comes together in a snap.

Simply sauté some shallot, and cook the shrimp in the same pan, with a splash of white wine.

When the shrimp is just done cooking, add a pound of cooked spaghetti to the pan, with a little reserved pasta water. Pour in an easy sauce made from olive oil, parmesan, and lemon, and toss in a small handful of basil.

Stir until the noodles and shrimp are coated with a creamy, cheesy, lemony sauce and serve garnished with fresh basil and fried capers.YUM!!!

Lemon Parmesan Spaghetti with Fried Capers and Shrimp
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • Generous pour of organic canola oil for frying
  • 1 4-oz jar capers, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup sauvignon blanc white wine
  • 1 cup freshly chopped basil
  • Maldon sea salt, for serving
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, for serving
Instructions
  1. Fill a small skillet with about 1/4 cup canola oil. Warm over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the capers (make sure they are well dried, or they will splatter in the oil) and fry for about 3-5 minutes, or until the capers are puffed open, darkened, and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried capers to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. 

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions, until al dente. When the pasta is done cooking, reserve 3/4 cup of pasta water before draining, then drain the pasta and set aside.

  3. While the pasta cooks, add the 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice to a medium bowl & whisk until combined. Set aside for later.

  4. When the pasta is done cooking, add the shallot and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet and cook for just 1 or 2 minutes over medium heat until softened. 

  5. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then add to the nonstick skillet containing the shallot. Increase the heat to medium-high, and let cook for about 2 minutes on the first side. Flip the shrimp, and add the wine to the skillet, letting it cook off while the shrimp cook on the second side, about another 2 minutes. 

  6. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pasta, lemon-olive oil-parmesan mixture, 1/4 cup reserved pasta water, and 1/2 cup of the fresh basil. Cook, tossing the pasta with the shrimp and sauce, until well combined. Let cook for a minute or two more, as needed, until the sauce has thickened slightly and coated the noodles. Add more reserved pasta water if the mixture is too dry. 

  7. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, turn off the heat and transfer the pasta to serving bowls. Top each serving with 1/4 of the fried capers, 1/4 of the remaining fresh basil, and season with Maldon sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

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Pappardelle with Pork Ragu

Pappardelle with Pork Ragu

Guys, in case you haven’t heard, over 40% of California is finally out of the drought! Yahoo!

True, I live in Southern California precisely because it’s 75 and sunny pretty much all year, but I’ll admit I’ve been sort of digging the rain this month.

Lots of rain means evenings with the fireplace on, the smell of smoke wafting through the neighborhood, with a pop of coolness from the fresh rain.

It also means extra snuggles and movie nights, baking cookies, and simmering or braising delicious soups and stews for hours on end, decadent flavors filling the apartment and feeling like home.

Pappardelle with Pork Ragu Sprinkled with Maldon Sea Salt

If you’re like me, huddled up indoors on the weekend, chillaxing (and maybe Netflixing?), you should make this ragu.

Yep, I’m just putting it out there.

Making this ragu will make your whole weekend awesome.

Plus, it makes such a huge batch that it’s the perfect excuse for a dinner party.

Pappardelle with Slow Cooked Pork Ragu

Pork ragu starts with a whole pork shoulder, but it braises for hours and hours until the meat just falls apart into tender shreds.

It’s one of those meals you crave. The umami flavor of the sauce is off the charts, but well balanced with the acid from the red wine and sweetness of the tomatoes, carrots, and onion.

It cooks down into a thick ragu that’s able to stand up to the hearty pappardelle pasta. No wimpy thin sauces here, this bad boy thickly coats every noodle and guarantees tons of flavor in every bite.

The real secret to take this from great to mind-blowing, is the finishing touches. Get yourself some high quality extra virgin olive oil, some flaky Maldon sea salt, freshly grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses, and fresh basil. Decorate each bowl before serving, and get ready to have your mind blown.

P.S. Got extras?

This ragu freezes excellently. Simply place batches in freezer safe tupperware or ziplocks, making sure that all extra air is removed to prevent freezer burn. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months, removing 1 batch at a time as needed for easy weeknight dinners. You can toss it with any shape of pasta, and is even excellent served over polenta!

Pappardelle with Pork Ragu - Perfect for a Party!

Pappardelle with Pork Ragu
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs 30 mins
Total Time
4 hrs 55 mins
 
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 5 lbs bone-in pork shoulder, cut into 3x3 inch pieces, bone and excess fat discarded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Generous sprinkles of kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 large yellow onions, finely diced
  • 2 extra large carrots, finely diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 lb pancetta, diced
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups dry red wine, plus 1/4 cup reserved for end of cooking
  • 2 28- oz cans whole san marzano tomatoes
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 lbs dried or fresh pappardelle pasta
  • Blend of freshly grated parmesan and romano cheese, for serving (optional)
  • Maldon sea salt, for serving (optional)
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)
  • Minced fresh basil, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large enameled cast iron dutch oven and warm over high heat. While the oil heats, season the pork well on all sides with kosher salt and ground black pepper. When the oil is shimmering, add half the pork to the dutch oven and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the first batch of browned pork and set aside on a plate, and repeat with the second batch. Keep the pork set aside for later.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrots, celery, and pancetta to the same dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is crispy and the vegetables have a nice golden brown color to them. Don't skimp on this step, since it is the base of the flavor of the dish. You want some dark bits on the bottom of the pan that you'll stir up later when you add liquid.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Next, add the garlic and tomato paste to the dutch oven and cook for about 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the red wine and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the wine is mostly evaporated.
  5. Add the 2 cans of tomatoes, including the sauce in the cans. Use a spatula to break up the tomatoes in the pot. Add the fresh thyme, oregano, bay leaves, and 2 cups of beef stock. Use tongs to nestle the pork pieces back into the dutch oven so they are fully submerged in the liquid, adding any accumulated juices to the dutch oven as well. Increase the heat to high and bring everything to a simmer.
  6. Remove from the heat, partially cover the dutch oven with the lid, and place in the oven. Let braise for about 3 hours, until the pork is fall apart tender.
  7. About 30 minutes before you're ready to eat, start cooking the pasta. You'll probably have to cook it in 2 batches unless you have a ginormous pot available. To cook it, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions (time will vary, depending on whether you bought fresh or dried pasta). When the first batch is done, drain the noodles and toss with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together while the 2nd batch cooks. When the second batch is done, drain, toss with a little bit of olive oil, and add to the first batch.
  8. When the ragu is done braising, remove the dutch oven from the oven and set on the stove. Use a spoon and/or a pair of forks to shred all of the pork pieces into fine shreds and stir the sauce until evenly combined. Stir in a splash of balsamic vinegar, 1-2 tablespoons total, and another 1/2 cup of red wine. If the ragu is a little too thick, add more beef broth to thin to the consistency you desire (although this should be a thick sauce that will stand up to the thick pappardelle noodles and coat them well).
  9. When ready to serve, add noodles to your bowl, top with a generous amount of ragu, drizzle with high quality extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with flaky maldon sea salt, and top with parmesan/romano cheese and a bit of fresh basil. Enjoy!
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