Pasta with pancetta and tomato sauce, traditionally known as pasta all’Amatriciana, is a quick and super simple pasta dish to prepare for the family. The sauce is one of the easiest to prepare since it only requires a few ingredients. This is a rustic Italian classic that the family is sure to love.
This popular pasta dish was created in a small village called Amatrice, located in the Abruzzo region of Italy. At its most authentic it is made with smoky guanciale, pecorino cheese, olive oil, dry white wine, San Marzano tomatoes, hot pepper flakes and salt. While most pasta sauces that include tomatoes also call for onions, garlic, and herbs, the most classic recipe includes none of the above as they were once upon a time too expensive for the shepherds who used to prepare this dish. Since then there have been countless interpretations of this recipe, one of which I am sharing with you today.
My recipe differs from the original recipe is a few ways. My reasoning? When you’re cooking for kids you have to be a little lenient with conventionality. I’ve substituted cubed pancetta for guanciale (simply because that’s what I had on hand), and also opted for small bowtie pasta as opposed to spaghetti or bucatini. Omitting the hot pepper flakes was a given, but you can easily add some as a garnish if you like the heat. Instead, I added some cracked black pepper for garnish.
On a side note, we’ve been living in Italy for almost a month now and the locals seem somewhat baffled that my 4 and 6 year old cannot yet elegantly twirl their spaghetti around their forks. Almost sacrilege for Italians, I’d say – or so it seems. It’s an art, and one I’m sure kids here learn at a very early age. My kids will succeed in due time. For now, I’d rather save myself the mess and headache and prepare a smaller, kid-friendly pasta – and I’m quite concern my kids appreciate a quicker and less stressful method of eating their pasta. Regardless of the substitutions and choice of pasta, this dish is rich and flavourful and is always a winner at the dinner table.