Bucatini alla Matriciana – Paternity Challenged
Bucatini alla Matriciana, long tubular pasta smothered in a tomato, chili pepper, and bacon sauce. If you have been to Rome you have had them. This pasta dish is a stalwart for the purist of Roman cuisine. They are not to be confused with Bucatini all’Amatriciana or Bucatini made according to the traditions of the people from Amatrice, located about ½ hour from Rome.
Heated discussions continue today regarding the origins of this simple but marvelously flavorful dish. While the focus of the dispute may not interest the basic difference between the two sauces is important. The Roman version, the Matriciana, is made with tomato while the Amatricina version does not have tomato. This is important because the primary ingredient, aged ham hocks or pancetta, can be salty. The tomato in the Roman version adds structure and balance. This does not mean that the Amatriciana is not great just that it is simpler in structure and a bit more spicy.
It should also be noted that some restaurants add a bit of cream to the recipe however this is more for the tourists than for the traditionalists. Other variations include crushed peperoncino, small chili peppers, sprinkled over the pasta. Anyway you prepare Bucatini alla Matriciana, it is quick and satisfying, a fantastic summer dish.
1 lb (450 gr.) Bucatini or other tubular pasta, such as penne, rigatoni, or zitti
1/3 lb. (150 gr.) Guanciale, Pancetta or thick sliced Bacon cut into small pieces
4 oz. (100 gr.) Tomato sauce or ripe Roma or Cherry tomatoes
½ cup Olive Oil
crushed peperoncino – these are small dried chilly peppers
1/8 lb. (50 gr.) grated Pecorino
Place the oil in skillet with the Guanciale, Pancetta or bacon and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the crushed peperoncino to the oil. Stir for about 1 minute. Add the tomato. Salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat to medium low and cook until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce is smooth. This will take about 10 minutes.
In abundant salted water cook the pasta. Usually this will be about 10-11 minutes depending on the type of pasta. The box will indicate the correct cooking time.
Drain the pasta and pour it into the skillet. Stir together to completely saturate the pasta. Add the Pecorino cheese and serve immediately.
This dish will take about 20-25 minutes from start to finish. A red wine such as Barbera will or Monsordo will be a perfect compliment.
Tags: Matriciana Pasta Lazio Summer Recipes Italian Recipes Food and Wine Travel Italy