Spaghetti La Matriciana

This pasta is a big favourite with Romans and me! I had it for lunch one day at Ristorante Maccheroni in Rome where they used rigatoni. My preference is spaghetti.  Romans also use bucatini for their La Matriciana. Your choice! The crucial element is the guanciale (cured pork jowl). You can find guanciale at either Oyama or Columbus. You have to buy a whole piece, but it keeps really well and you will find many other uses for it. I often substitute guanciale for pancetta. It’s surprising how just a few good ingredients can make such a delicious sauce.

Makes 3 – 4 Servings

4 oz. guanciale or pancetta, trimmed as necessary, cut into 1/8” cubes
3 Tbsp. EVOO
1 fresh red chili (2”) long, seeds removed and very thinly sliced, or ¼ tsp. Peperoncino (red chili flakes)
2/3 cup dry white wine
13 oz. tinned Italian plum tomatoes
12 oz. spaghetti
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, place the tomatoes into a medium sized bowl and crush them, using your impeccably clean hands (as Julia Child would say). Heat the EVO in a large skillet; add the guanciale & chili. As soon as the guanciale starts to get a bit golden, pour in the wine & allow it to evaporate. Now pour in the tomatoes & allow to simmer until the sauce has reduced.  Season to taste with salt.

Add 1 Tbsp. salt to the pot of water them the spaghetti. Cook until al dente, stirring occasionally. Remove 1 cup of pasta cooking water and put aside; drain the pasta in a colander & add to the hot sauce. Stir & toss for about 1 minute, adding a bit of pasta cooking water if the pasta appears to be a bit dry, place in a heated pasta bowl & serve immediately.

If you would like to the locations of Oyama and Columbus for  guanciale, please go to My Source List.

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