This is one of our favourite pasta sauces. Bucatini (long spaghetti-like tubes) is traditionally used but penne works well too and tends to be easier to find at the shops. Makes a great Friday night supper with a matching glass of something equally red and Italian.
The recipe below makes 6 little portions that you might serve as a first course. You will need to adjust accordingly if you’re serving it as a main meal – we half the quantities below to serve the two of us.
Wine Suggestion: An Italian Sangiovese is the obvious match which complements the acidity in this tomato-based sauce. We drank a Rocca delle Macie Chianti; an excellent match.
Penne all’ Amatriciana – serves 6
- 250g pancetta, cut into matchsticks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 dried chillies, crumbled
- 2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 150ml red wine
- 2 x 400g tins peeled plum tomatoes, drained if very liquid (look for Italian brands)
- 2 tbsp rosemary
- 250g penne
- 100g Parmesan, grated
- A handful of fresh oregano (don’t panic if you don’t have this)
Put the pancetta, oil and chillies into a large saucepan, heat and fry until the pancetta becomes crisp.
Add the onions and rosemary and keep frying until they have also turned light brown and crisp.
Add the red wine and let it reduce before adding the tomatoes, then season with the oregano and some black pepper.
Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for at least 45 minutes, until thick and almost dry. Check for seasoning.
Cook the penne in a generous amount of boiling salted water, then drain. Add to the sauce, mix and serve with Parmesan.
(Original recipe from The River Café Cookbook by Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, Ebury Press, 1995.)