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.