From the Sabine town of Amatrice comes this simple but great pasta
sauce. Traditionally, it is served over bucatini, a spaghetti-like pasta
that has a hole in it, like a straw. It is then sprinkled with grated
pecorino romano cheese.
1/2 cup olive oil
1 pound pancetta or smoked bacon, chopped
2 onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 small, hot red chiles, such as santaka, Thai, or piquin, crushed into
a coarse powder
2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, drained, 1 cup juice reserved
Cayenne powder to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large sauce pan, add the pancetta and cook over medium
heat until browned, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to brown the
pancetta evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Remove all but 1/2 cup of the remaining fat.
Add the onions and saute until golden, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic
and crushed chiles and saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and mash
them with a spoon. Increase the heat, add the reserved tomato juice and
the pancetta, and boil until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.
Taste for heat and seasonings and adjust with cayenne, salt, and pepper.