Two years ago, while I was visiting Italy (the Piemonte area to be exact), we dined in a restaurant in the city of Alba. We had been to this restaurant on past visits and had become friends with the chef owner Bruno. He was kind enough to set up visits at wineries, and other restaurants. We always looked forward to dining at Bruno’s restaurant whenever we were in Piemonte, because he is a man of size both physically and in personality. We’ve shared many a great meal and many many bottles of great Piemontese wines there. On the last night of our stay in Italy we again ate at Bruno’s restaurant. The meal was multi coursed with a lot of Alba white Truffles being shaved over many of the courses. As we were leaving he handed us gifts he had made, one of which was a bottle of his Amatriciana sauce.
Amatriciana is a southern Italian condiment from Rome, so I asked Bruno why he was making this in a northern Italian restaurant. He said he loved this sauce on pasta and used it a lot in his restaurant. I then asked him how he made his, and he went into great detail explaining the sauce to me. Well I liked his so much that it has become the recipe I now use.
Amatriciana sauce is very simple to make so that’s why I’ve decided to share it with you. There are very few ingredients but cooking time is rather long so plan ahead. Take 1 lb of good Guanciale (dry cured pork jowls) and chop into very small pieces. Finely mince one small white onion. Puree one 6lb can of whole tomatoes in juice until very smooth. have on hand 750 ml of white wine, lots of red pepper flakes, a TBS of sugar, and 2 bay leaves. In a thick bottomed pan large enough to hold all the ingredients, start heating a1/4 cup of olive oil. Add to this the chopped Guanciale, and cook slowly to render the fat from the jowls. As the fat starts to render, add the minced onion. Stirring the whole time, turn the heat down and let the onion slowly melt into the rendering fat. When the onions have melted then add the white wine, and turn up the heat. While the white wine is reducing add the bay leaves, the sugar and as much pepper flakes as you desire (I like mine very spicy so I add a lot). When the wine has reduced by half add the pureed tomato and again turn the heat down, and let the sauce come to a simmer. Stirring often let the sauce simmer for 1 1/2 hours. When the sauce is done toss it with your favorite pasta and you have a very tasty pasta course that will please all. Store the left over sauce in the refrigerator for up to one week. I recommend using Bucatini pasta for this sauce. Enjoy.