This dish is named for the town of Amatrice, about an hour east of Rome, considered by many Italians to be birthplace of the best cooks on the peninsula. Many dishes at the heart of Roman cooking may indeed have actually started in the region to the east of Lazio, Abruzzo.
Serves 4 people
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces thinly sliced guanciale pancetta, or good bacon
1 red onion, cut lengthwise in half and then into ¼-inch-thick half-moons
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 ½ teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
2 cups tomato sauce (homemade or MB’s jarred pasta sauce)
1 pound spaghetti (homemade or MB’s dried spaghetti)
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salt.
Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, combine the olive oil, guanciale, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes; set over low heat and cook until the onion is softened and the guanciale has rendered much of its fat, about 12 minutes.
Drain all but ¼ cup of the fat out of the pan (and set aside to cook you eggs for tomorrow’s breakfast). Add the tomato sauce, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and allow to bubble for 6 to 7 minutes.
While the sauce simmers, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water for about a minute less than the package directions, until still very firm; drain.
Add the pasta to the simmering sauce and toss for about 1 minute to coat. Divide the pasta among four heated bowls and serve immediately, topped with freshly grated pecorino.