Antico Arco Buccatini all'Amatriciana recipe
I had this dish there in July of '09, and I have dreamed about it ever since. To me, it was the apotheosis of Buccatini all'Amatriciana. If anyone is going there and can wrestle the recipe out of them, I'd be eternally grateful. Or, maybe someone already has it? It was so great, that I am still thinking about it nearly two years later!
Piazzale Aurelio, 7, Roma 00151, IT
Amatriciana has been for years and shall be a quite bloody argument amongst traditional roman cuisine lovers.
I know Antico Arco quite well and first of all, the chef you're trying to get the recipe out from might not be working there anymore and everyone of them will have its own very personal way on making it, so you get exlpained also why someones of you had bucatini and overs didnt.
Second point Antico Arco is quite expensive whilst amatriciana is quite poor, the two things are quite opposite imho, also because the best place to have amatriciana is not rome...
If you're a fan of try this at home then I'll try to share (I'm from rome so please forgive my average english) my humile and personal recipe
you will need:
plenty of mature tomatoes
cheek bacon (not normal bacon otherwise you'll get an aggressive a far too strong sauce)
lard not olive oil
bucatini (de cecco spaghetti nr. 12 will do fairly the same)
pecorino (better not from rome because it's far too salty)
boil plenty of water
dip for one minute the tomatoes in boiling water, this will help you to peel them more easily
once peeled half the tomatoes and cut the seeds, those to preparation helps you to keep the tomatoes sweet, not acid. Put the cut tomatoes and their jiuce in a boul
cut the cheek bacon into stripes, not cubes. this will keep the lard more tender and crispy
and scratch the pecorino if you want a more delicate variation go 50% pecorino and 50% parmigiano (italian parmigiano I mean)
warm a pan (medium flame) and put one spoon of lard and wait for it to melt, the put the bacon and wait for it to get yellow (if it gets brown or near to there the bacon is lost), the timing is all, its the difference between having a boiled or an overcooked and woody piece of bacon, there is no instruction, just experience, visually the fat part of the bacon should be near to vanish, but still consistent. Immediately lower the flame to low and pour in the tomatoes.
throw in the pasta in the boiling water
cook at low flame for 10 mins (the sauce needs to be dense but still liquid enought to be absorbed by the pasta) and stir from time to time with a woodden spoon
the pasta should be almost ready (not ready otherwise it will get overcooked by sauteeing it with the tomato sauce), throw it in the pan and sautee mixing with pecorino (or pecorino and parmigiano).
once done serve in prewarmed dishes and garnish with more pecorino and black pepper
for 4 pax
400 grams of pasta
250 grams of cheek bacon
500 grams of red mature tomatoes
150 grams of pecorino
1 spoon of lard
Hope you'll enjoy
Can you tell me how close it was in overall character to my idea of the ideal Bucatini all'Amatriciana, which would be like this:
The sauce: dense, thick, strongly tomatoey; something like what you might get if you combined fresh, peeled, cored, seeded, and drained (i.e. removed of the excess thin liquid you get) tomatoes with a good dollop of tomato paste.
The guanciale: large, striplike bits, maybe half-earthworm size, with a powerful, porky flavour, and plenty of fat to give them a tender, supple consistency, in sufficient quantity overall to ensure several bits per fork.
The bucatini: Bucatini and no other shape, i.e. like very thick spaghetti with a pinhole in the middle, with that unique flavour of wheat semolina and very pure water, supple on the fork yet firm in the mouth, without any hints of either crunchiness or mushiness.
I've been on a search of the ultimate Bucatini all'Amatriciana in Rome; Antico Arco is hyper-upscale relative to the "normal" sorts of places that you might expect to find this dish but perhaps for that very reason might be ultimate. I've also seen reports that Il Convivio Troiani has an ultimate version as well. For similar reasons it might be worth trying them; but it would seem like ridiculous overkill to try both on the same visit.
I think I've had all'Amatriciana once at Antico Arco and it wasn't with bucatini. Maybe just once or maybe more than once.
This is my favorite pasta dish to order in Rome and I pretty much order it wherever it's on the menu, so for me trying it at both places you mention would not be overkill.
actually the sauce should not be dense and no Roman sauce contains tomato paste. Spaghetti is served in Amatrice more often than bucatini. Antico Arco is not hyper-upscale, but it is certainly not a traditional trattoria. Still, such places often pride themselves on their versions of one or two classics. Their cacio e pepe and carbonara are good too. Both Agata e Romeo (known especially for their carbonara, however) and Troiani (Il Convivio) have great versions of amatriciana. Troiani also does an incredible gricia.
Yes, I didn't mean that my vision of the ideal would actually contain tomato paste. What I meant is that the density of the *flavour* should be similar to what one might expect by the combination described. All too often tomato-based sauces come out insipid and lacking in flavour, usually because the tomatoes weren't of the utmost quality or weren't ripe.
The Bucatini insistence might not be true, necessarily, of what would happen in Amatrice, but here I'm thinking of what happens in Rome, where bucatini has become the "canonical" pasta to use. I'm thinking, in other words, of the ideal as interpreted through the Roman method.
Yeah yeah yeah, that's what I've had, three times over the years, I think, at Antico Arco. I love it. I am not a carbonara fan (too rich for me, I like the counterbalance/acidity of tomato with my fat).
I am an okay cook but for some reason I cannot make this dish taste right at home...