You can already guess which part ranked "great" for me. The dining part definitely made a huge impression... to my stomach!
I wasn't sure how it would taste. Movies are all about acting... so it was a risk. I hate wasting food and if the end result isn't as I expected, I'd be very disappointed! But, after cooking this... I understood... Julia wasn't acting ... it was rich, creamy and just a really beautiful dish.
I think everyone should cook it, eat it and find out for themselves how great of a dish this is. It's a typical Italian dish. It wasn't made to be complicated... it was made for you to taste each and every component of the dish and how each complements the others.
Tip 1: Use as many or as less cherry tomatoes. My husband loves how it bursts in his mouth, to think that he doesn't like tomatoes.
Tip 2: Add the basil towards the end of your cooking. Basil is one of the herbs that has lighter oil, which means if you add it earlier in the cooking, its flavour would be lost among the crowd.
Tip 3: I haven't used chicken or beef in this dish but I bet it would taste good too.
Tip 4: You can use guanciale or lardon instead of pancetta. It's just easier for me to find pancetta in the supermarket so that's why I prefer to use it.
Tip 5: Of course, if you want to use a different pasta, say a Bucatini, a spaghetti-like thicker version with holes in the middle, it's up to you. Pasta and sauces are partners. Thick sauces call for thick pastas, thin sauces call for delicate pastas.
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
227 grams or 8 oz pancetta
2 large onions, diced 1/2 inch
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4-cans (227 grams or 8 oz) tomato sauce
15 cherry tomatoes optional
500 grams spaghetti
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano plus extra for garnish
Fresh basil leaves, sliced
Cook spaghetti in a large pot of well salted water. Cook it 2 minutes less than what the package states. Drain and set aside making sure you reserve 2 cups of pasta water for later use.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the pancetta and saute over low heat until it is brown and crispy, about 15-20 minutes. Remove pancetta and set aside.
Bring the pan to medium heat, add garlic, onions and pepper flakes. Season with salt. Cook the onions until it's transluscent, starting to turn golden and the aroma starts whafting through the air, about 10-15 minutes.
Add the sauce 2/3 of pancetta and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for about 25 mins. Adjust the salt, as needed. Reserve 3 ladlefuls of the sauce for later use. In the last 5 minutes of simmering, add cherry tomatoes. If the sauce becomes too thick, add some pasta water until your desired consistency.
Add the drained pasta to the remaining pot of sauce. Add cheese, drizzle with olive oil and toss well to ensure the flavours are married well. If the coating is too thick, add more sauce. It should be a balanced coating.
Serve on individual bowls, sprinkle additional parmegiano cheese, basil and divide the remaining pancetta on each bowl. Make sure each bowl has a cherry tomato or two. Cherry tomatoes will still be whole but once it's in your mouth, it bursts into a sweet flavour that works so well with the sauce and pasta.
Enjoy your Spaghetti All'Amatriciana, pasta in a creamy tomato and cheese sauce with a fresh flavour of basil and a good side of spcicy kick.
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-AcousticChef, cookin' one tune at a time!