AKA, spaghetti in a spicy tomato, bacon, white wine sauce!
I'm about to say something decisive and maybe controversial and before I do you should know that I have eaten a lot of pasta dishes in my life -- THIS IS THE BEST.
It's a familiar spaghetti and red sauce with very welcome twists from the umami bacon, a hint of white wine, and lots of flavor and spice from the chili pepper. The tomato and parmesan make this sharp and creamy all at once.
Even Josh - who is well-known for his dislike of long noodles - makes an exception for spaghetti all'amatriciana. It's so good he doesn't even care about the hard labor of twirling and slurping noodles!
And not only is a warm bowl of spaghetti the ultimate comfort food, this one is so easy to make. It features mainly pantry staples and ingredients we usually have in the fridge, so it easily comes to the rescue when the question what's for dinner is posed.
It's a quick and easy meal that is so delicious and comforting. The total package!
INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW:
Is this authentic?
This is a loose interpretation that uses easy-to-find ingredients. Traditional amatriciana uses guanciale (cured pork jowl), and pecorino cheese; this version uses bacon and parmesan.
Are the leftovers good?
Yes! This reheats really well!
How spicy is it?
You can make it as spicy or not spicy as you want. When I first started making this, I was using between 1 and 2 TABLESPOONS of red pepper flakes, which once resulted in a pasta so spicy it was inedible. This then lead to us discovering our love for Panda Express, so was ultimately a good thing.
The spice level will vary based on how strong your red pepper flakes are, but a general guideline is:
- 1/2 teaspoon = mild spicy
- 1 teaspoon = medium spicy
- 1 1/2 teaspoons = you might break a sweat
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 1/2 cups diced bacon
- 1/2 - 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (see note)
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for topping
- Cook noodles according to package directions in a large pot of salted water.Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high. Add the garlic cloves and cook until golden brown. Remove and discard. Add bacon and stir constantly until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Add the red pepper flakes to the bacon fat and cook until fragrant - about 30 seconds. Add the entire contents of the canned diced tomatoes, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Return bacon to the sauce and stir in 1 cup of parmesan. Add cooked noodles and stir vigorously for 2 minutes - until sauce thickens slightly and noodles are coated in the sauce. Serve immediately topped with additional parmesan.
Inspired by Cook. Eat. Enjoy. Repeat's version, which my sister sent me in 2011 and I have been making ever since.