Recipe: Chitarra Alla Amatriciana from PastaBar

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Moises says Chitarra Alla Amatriciana (pronounced: key-tar-ra alla ama-treet-chee-ama) is from the town of Amatrice, north of Rome. Unlike most Italian dishes that use pancetta, Chitarra Alla Amatriciana is marked with its use of guanciale.

While similar to pancetta in structure, guanciale is specifically made from the jowls of the hog. The guanciale cooked with red onion, hot peppers and tomato form a lightly acidic but equally rich sauce.

When Moises makes the dish at PastaBar, he uses thick, homemade chitarra noodles for his take on the classic Amatriciana recipe. While this dish is traditionally made with the bucatini noodle, Moises' fresh chitarra pasta is the perfect compliment to this rich sauce.

The Pasta: Four ounces of thick chitarra pasta.

Drop chitarra in boiling salted water and cook until al dente (drop time is about 7 minutes).

The Sauce:
1 ounce of guanciale, cut into small batons
1 ounce of red onion, sliced thick
A pinch of crushed red pepper
4 ounces Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
A small handful of Italian parsley leaves
Extra virgin olive oil as needed

In a sauté pan, warm enough olive oil to glaze the bottom of the pan, and lightly brown the onions. Add the guanciale to the pan and cook until brown and crispy. Then, add the crushed red pepper, plum tomatoes and parsley. Combine the pasta with the sauce in the pan and toss until all the noodles are well coated. Thin the sauce with a little pasta water and cook the pasta in the pan for at least one minute.

The Garnish:
2 tablespoons of finely grated Pecorino cheese

Toss the pasta with the cheese.

The Plate:
Place the pasta and sauce on a plate and finish with Pecorino cheese grated over the top. Serve with a large slice of crusty bread.

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