31 October 2013

'Tis Tasty 6 - All'amatriciana

Original sugo all'amatriciana or alla matriciana (in Romanesco) is a traditional Italian pasta sauce based on guanciale (cured pork cheek), pecorino cheese, and tomato. Originating from the town of Amatrice (in the mountainous Province of Rieti of Lazio region in central Italy), the Amatriciana is one of the most well-known pasta sauces in Roman and Italian cuisine. The sauce has been declared as Lazio's Prodotto agroalimentare traditionally the name being only applicable to Italy.

This wonderfully versatile recipe came to us from a great Italian restaurant out on Long Island. It has been Anglicized, Americanized, Southernized, and personalized to suit our taste, use, and convenience.

INGREDIENTS

• 2 Tablespoons     extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 to 1 cup        onion (coarsely chopped)
• 2 28-ounce cans  Italian style peeled tomatoes with basil
                            1st choice: Tattoroso brand
                            2nd choice: Progresso brand
• basil                   chopped (about 5 fresh leaves per can of tomatoes)
• salt                     to taste (sparingly to none when using Pancetta)
• pepper                to taste
• 1 package           Farfalle (bow tie) or Penne (tube) pasta

DIRECTIONS

Heat oil in saucepan. Add chopped onion. Simmer on low heat until onion just turns translucent golden brown. (If onion turns, discard and start over.) Put browned onion and tomatoes (one tomato at a time) in blender on medium speed and blend until creamy. Pour blended onion and tomato mixture into large pot along with chopped basil and tomato-basil juice from cans. If meat option is selected, add cooked meat to mixture at this time. Simmer about 20 to 30 minutes on low heat until mixture cooks down.

Cook pasta according to package directions. (Or, use your own homemade pasta.)

OPTIONS

• 1/2 to 1 pound meat choice
   • chicken breasts (healthest choice) grilled and cut into strips or
   • pancetta diced, rinses, sauteed and drained (very salty) or
   • prosciutto (Prosciutto di Parma brand) or
   • American smoked bacon or
   • ground sirloin for a plain spaghetti and meat sauce dish

For a pink and sweeter sauce, add one (1) cup heavy cream and one half (1/2) cup vodka to the sauce before the final step.

For a thicker consistency to the sauce omit the tomato-basil juice from the canned tomatoes.

If a chunky texture is desired, crush tomatoes by hand and omit the blender step.




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