The bucatini all'Amatriciana is one of Italy's most popular pasta recipe. The name comes from the village of Amatrice, in Lazio, at the border of Abruzzo. The dish is traditionally made with spaghetti - in fact, Amatrician is known as "la citta' degli spaghetti" (Spaghetti City). But the version served in Rome uses bucatini, a thicker, hollow strand of pasta. Whichever type of noodle you choose, this dish gives you an authentic flavor of central Italy.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 400gr (14 ounces) bucatini or spaghetti
  • 150 gr (5 ounces) guanciale, sliced into 1x1/4-inch strips; or thick-sliced bacon, sliced horizontally
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • dry white wine (about 1/2 cup)
  • 6/7 sun-ripened peeled tomatoes, peeled and chopped, with juices
  • a dash (or more!) peperoncino (hot chile flakes)
  • 100 gr (3 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • salt as needed

Heat the olive oil into a skillet over medium heat; add guanciale or bacon and sauté until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer it to paper towels to drain. Add the wine to the pan, let bubble, then add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and chile flakes, and saute aboat 10 minutes. Put the guanciale back into the sauce.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until "al dente", just tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to same pot.

Add tomato sauce and cheese to pasta and toss, adding some of reserved pasta cooking liquid to help bind the sauce to the pasta. Put it all into a serving bowl, sprinkle with Pecorino cheese, and serve.

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