Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sauce It Up #SundaySupper...Featuring Amatriciana Sauce for Pasta

It's time for another fun #SundaySupper posting...and this week? We're getting saucy! Our host is Foodie Stuntman from Crazy Foodie Stunts. He challenged us to create a tasty sauce from could be savory or sweet. When I saw this week's theme, I knew exactly what I wanted to make immediately: homemade pasta sauce. I rarely take the time to make my own pasta sauce, so I tend to depend on Rao's, my go-to jarred pasta sauce. However, I made Amatriciana sauce once and absolutely loved how it came out. Since this was several years ago during my pre-blogging days, I decided to make this amazing sauce again and share it with everyone. This one's addictive...and so easy to  make!

If you've never had Amatriciana sauce, you're in for a real treat, my friend. It's made with only a few simple ingredients, but it makes for a fabulous pasta topping. Canned San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, pancetta or bacon, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and a splash of white wine. That's it...but oh boy, is it ever magical!! I like to let the simmer for about an hour to really get the flavors to combine and intensify, but that's all hands-off time. When you're ready to serve the sauce, simply toss with some pasta and top with some parmesan. Add a salad and some crusty bread and dinner's good to go!
I took a few liberties with authentic Amatriciana sauce. Originally, guanciale was used...but that pork product can be hard to find. Mario Batali says pancetta or even good bacon can be used. I had some bacon in the fridge, so I opted for that...if it's good enough for Mario, it works for me! Traditionally, Amatriciana is tossed with buccatini (spaghetti with a hole down the center) and topped with pecorino romano. I had penne rigate and parmesan on hand, so I used that. Just don't skimp on the tomatoes, though. Canned San Marzano tomatoes are essential to this simple sauce.

Amatriciana Sauce
Adapted from many sources, including Mario Batali
  • 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 4 ounces pancetta or bacon (or guanciale)
  • 1-2 tbs. olive oil
  •  1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
  • Generous pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Step 1: Add the olive oil to a Dutch over over med-high heat.  Chop the bacon or pancetta into bite-sized pieces. [NOTE: freezing the meat for 30 minutes before chopping makes it much easier to cut!]. Brown the pancetta or bacon until well browned. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook until translucent, about 10 minutes.
Step 2: Remove the tomatoes from the can, including the puree. Break the tomatoes up with your hands...or use an immersion blender to break them up. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan using a silicon spoonula. When most of the wine has evaporated, add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat until the sauce is simmering. 
Step 3: Simmer the sauce for at least 30 minutes, but an hour or so is best if you have the time. This allows the flavors in the sauce to really intensify as it reduces. Taste for seasoning at the end, and add salt & pepper to taste. Some recipes call for adding a bit of chopped Italian parsley or basil at the end, but it's not essential. To serve, cook 1/2 lb. of penne rigate per package directions. Toss the pasta with the sauce, place in a large serving bowl, and top with grated parmesan or pecorino romano.
This sauce is simple, but it's off-the-hook good! The slow simmer produces a complex flavor profile, with a nice smokiness from the bacon. Each bite has sweet onions and pieces of smoky bacon, and the ridges in the penne rigate help the flavorful sauce adhere to the pasta. I love this dish as is, but Michael likes a little bit more protein. I added some grilled chicken breast to his serving, and he was perfect. I've read that Amatriciana sauce is good with seafood, so a skewer of grilled shrimp might also be a nice pairing with this pasta dish.

Wait until you see the variety of sweet and savory sauces that my fellow #SundaySupper contributors are sharing today. I'm sure you'll find several new recipes to add to your collection, so click on the links below to go see their offerings! Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter later today. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 6:00 pm CST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. sure to check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Savory Sauces
Pasta Sauces and Pastas with Sauce
Entre├ęs with Sauces
Sweet Sauces
Desserts with Sauces
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → >Sunday Supper Movement.

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