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Late Nite Adobo

Typing out thoughts on a website… when the cravings hit you in the late nite…

by Tondagossa


The short answer:  it’s yummy.  I’ve mentioned this dish to people and most of them say they’ve never heard of it before.  Pretty strange for a sauce that’s apparently popular in Italy.  Once I even got a joking, “You just made that up!”  C’mon.  I could never make up a name like spaghetti all’Amatriciana.  I mean, if I were to make up a name, it would be something much easier for me to pronounce.

This sauce seems to be gaining a bit more recognition these days.  I surely would have never heard about it if it weren’t for certain cooking shows.  So what’s this “all’Amatriciana”?  The name means that it’s “in the style of Amatrice”, a town located in central Italy.  It’s a pasta sauce that usually makes use of guanciale, which is dried pork cheek, and pecorino cheese.  Those of us outside of Italy tend to substitute the guanciale with the more-readily-available pancetta (cured pork belly) or thick country-cut bacon.  Mmm… can you ever go wrong with that kind of pork?

I made this dish for Father’s Day and wanted to share it with you all, since I think it’s pretty delicious.  My family and former workmates also seemed to like it.  I’ve seen at least three or four different ways to make this, so I did what I usually do with dishes that I’ve already cooked.  I took the parts that I like from the recipes and modified it to my tastes.  So here we go…


For this experiment, you will need:

extra virgin olive oil (about 2 passes)

pancetta (about 4 oz.)

1/2 onion chopped (red or yellow, preference)

garlic, 6 cloves chopped

crushed red pepper flakes (about a tbsp or to taste)

1 cup white wine (optional but recommended)

32 oz. crushed tomatoes

14 oz. diced tomatoes

1 tbsp dried oregano

fresh-cracked black pepper (to taste)

fresh chopped Italian parsley to finish

pecorino romano cheese (optional but recommended)

Cut pancetta into 3 inch pieces (note: if they’re the round-shaped ones, just cut them in half).  In a pot, pour 2 passes worth of extra virgin olive oil.  Set stove on low and cook out the pancetta fat.  When all the fat has been rendered (or when the pancetta’s a bit crunchy, if you like it that way), carefully remove the pancetta from the pot and reserve, making sure to leave the fat in the pot.

Toss in the chopped garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, keeping the heat fairly low, allowing the flavor to infuse the oil.  The garlic should become somewhat tender, aromatic.  Now add the onion and let it “sweat” a bit.  Mwahaha… consider it revenge for when it made you cry during the chopping.  The chopped onion should start to become tender and translucent.  Add the cup of white wine to drown the onions, simmer and let it reduce to about 1/3.

Pour in the crushed and diced tomatoes and toss in the oregano.  Season it with black pepper.  Also at this point put the pancetta back into the sauce, reserving about a quarter of it on the side for topping your dish later.  Bring the sauce up to a boil, then back down to simmer until thick.  When it starts to thicken, add the chopped parsley.

Serve with any pasta you like.  I prefer spaghetti, though I’ve never tried it with bucatini (hollow spaghetti).  Rotini (spirals) and farfalle (bow ties) are also personal favorites.  Top with pieces of pancetta and a nice mild cheese.  I recommend pecorino romano.  Enjoy!


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