Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spaghetti with Amatriciana Sauce

Amatriciana pasta sauce—so called because it originated in the Italian town of Amatrice—is traditionally made with cured pork cheek, tomatoes, and pecorino (ewe’s milk) cheese. Since pork cheek isn’t a staple in butcher shops in many areas of the world, amatriciana sauces are often made with pancetta or bacon instead. Onions are sometimes added too, but, here, I wanted to stick as close to the original as possible—minus the pork cheeks.

The bottom line for amatriciana is simplicity. Pork, tomatoes, cheese, pasta. Wonderfully—and deliciously—simple.

Serves 4

  • 8 oz whole-wheat thin spaghetti
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 cups canned stewed tomatoes
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Sauce Ingredients 
  1. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente, 7-8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
  2. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon until almost cooked through (but not crisp), 5-6 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Crush the stewed tomatoes in your fingers and add to the pan along with all juices. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, 7-8 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked spaghetti and reserved pasta water to the pan and combine with the sauce. Cook 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese and the parsley.
Bacon Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Bacon
Tomato Paste Stirred In
Tomatoes Added 
Pasta Added 
Ready to Plate
Divide the pasta and sauce among 4 shallow bowls. Pass additional cheese for grating at the table.

Spaghetti with Amatriciana Sauce

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