I love a good sauce. At restaurants, I usually order extra sauce on the side. For some, food is an accessory to the condiment: you order fries for the ketchup, the wedge salad for the blue cheese dressing, the ribs for the barbecue sauce. I fall into this camp.
I could eat a bowl of good red pasta sauce on its own, spoon or no spoon.
This recipe is a spin on the Italian amatriciana sauce.
Traditional sugo all’amatriciana is made with guanciale, a cured pork jowl. If you’ve seen my kitchen, you know that I cure and roll pancetta and usually have about 10 pounds in the refrigerator or hanging over the sink by a string and a C-clamp. It is the belly and still has fat content and flavor.
Typically this Italian sauce does not have herbs. If it did, people would probably use basil. I use rosemary because that is what my mother did, and childhood flavors are always a strong pull. I also add a little balsamic vinegar, which gives an amazing amount of depth, and red chili flakes to give a comforting warmth. To keep with tradition, you can add a bit of Pecorino Romano or not.
You can use a large 12” skillet; however, I use a stockpot with high walls to avoid splattering all over my range.
Pour over a pasta of your choice. Bucatini is a classic, but spaghetti, ravioli, or malfatti would be welcome at your table. I make hand-cut egg noodles. You can also eat with a spoon; it’s that good, no shame.
I like to pair this with any of our red wines or for something fun, our 2021 Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Rosé that just scored 90 points with Wine Enthusiast in their October issue.