Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rigatoni All'amatriciana ("Rosie's Favorite Noodles")

This was my sister's favorite pasta when we were growing up and is known in my house as "Rosie's Favorite Noodles."  We ate this dish at least once a week, and my mom would often rewarm leftovers for us for breakfast, in a cast-iron pan with a bit of oil until the noodles were extra soft and would  get a slight brown crispness from the pan.  I still rewarm noodles this way and it is an incredible way to reheat most pastas -- turning them into something different and guiltier but extremely satisfying -- sorta like good Chinese food.  Yum.  Amatriciana is a classic Italian sauce and when my husband and I went to Italy for our honeymoon, it appeared on most menus.  It is often served with Bucatini but I prefer it the way I had it growing up, with Rigatoni.  The fat noodles are the perfect vehicle for the tomatoes, pancetta and onions.  I can make this one in my sleep.  Here's what you need:


2 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. olive oil (or 1 Tbs. grapeseed oil and 2 Tbs. olive oil, reserved)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 inch thick slice of Pancetta, diced (omit to make a vegetarian version)
1 28-oz. can of Italian whole peeled tomatoes, cut up with their juices
1 generous pinch (or more) red hot pepper flakes
1 lb. Rigatoni pasta

Parmesan, for serving.


1.  Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and saute until golden.

Note: At my father's advice, I have lately been using 1 Tbs. Grapeseed oil -- which has a high smoke point and does not turn to trans fats when cooked -- rather than the olive oil for cooking the onions.  I then add olive oil later in the process of cooking the sauce.

2.  Add Pancetta and cook for 1-2 minutes.

3.  Add chopped tomatoes (Tip: I use kitchen scissors to cut them up in a bowl) with their juices).

And red hot pepper flakes (I add about 1 Tsp. but you can add less or more to your liking)

And simmer over very low heat for at least 25 minutes.  I often leave the sauce 40 minutes or so.  The tomatoes will break up and the fat will separate from the juices.

4.  Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Reserve some pasta water before draining the pasta.  Toss pasta, sauce, and a few tablespoons pasta water.

 5.  Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

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