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Just two hours from Rome, in the Province of Lazio - is the small town of Amatrice. Surrounded by mountains this town has given its name to a sauce which has found its way around the world: Amatriciana.
Simple to make, this sauce is robust and delicious. It can be made the day before and reheated, or made freshly before cooking Gnocchi or Pasta. It requires little preparation, but allow around 30 minutes for the sauce to cook.
Ingredients: (for 2 to 3 servings)
125 gms lardons or a single thickly cut piece of bacon, rind removed, and cut into small cubes
1 small onion, finely sliced
1 clove of garlic very finely chopped (or use half a teaspoon of Tzatziki Herb Mix)
2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil
Can of chopped tomatoes
Half glass of red wine, or a few tablespoons of sherry (or omit altogether if not liked)
Optional: 1 dried 'peperoncino' (or dried chilli flakes) - to taste
To serve: grated Pecorino cheese, or grated Parmesan cheese, or a mix of both Parmesan and Pecorino
Optional: 20gms butter
Seasoning - taste before adding any pepper or salt as there will be some heat from the chilli/peperoncino and salt from the bacon
Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan
Add the lardons and gently fry until golden (don't overcook or they will become hard)
Remove the cooked lardons with a slotted spoon and set aside
Put in the thinly sliced onion and fry gently until softened (but not browned.
Add the contents of a can of chopped tomatoes
Add the cooked lardons
Add the peperoncino/chilli flakes
Add the wine
Gently stir and cover with a lid. Allow to simmer. Check the pan from time to time and gently stir so that the sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pan. If it evaporates too much simply add a spoon or two of water and stir in. Continue cooking while you prepare the Gnocchi (or Pasta)
Stir the butter into the sauce just before serving
To serve: spoon sauce over each serving of Gnocchi (or Pasta) and top with a generous portion of grated cheese. Serve immediately.