Spaghetti or bucatini all'amatriciana is one of the most iconic Italian pasta dishes. In Italy, we use cured pig cheek, known as 'guanciale' which is worth trying to track down with a good butcher. If you can't find it, you can use cubes of pancetta or bacon. The pasta is cooked and tossed in a slightly spicy tomato sauce and served with plenty of freshly grated Pecorino cheese.
125g guanciale, pancetta or bacon, cubed
120ml white wine
1 (400g) tin plum tomatoes, crushed tomatoes or passata
salt, to taste
1 pinch dried chilli flakes
100g freshly grated Pecorino cheese
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Cook spaghetti according to packet directions until "al dente". Drain, reserving about 1 ladle of cooking liquid.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat then add guanciale (or pancetta). Cook until nearly crisp, then pour in wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Use a slotted spoon to remove the guanciale and set aside.
In the same pan add the crushed tomatoes, salt and chilli flakes. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes over low heat, checking often. Stir in the cooked guanciale and remove pan from heat. Stir in cooked pasta, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid if needed.
Sprinkle with pecorino romano cheese, add more chili peppers if desired, and serve immediately.