Guanciale is cured pork jowl typically used in pasta dishes such as Bucatini all’Amatriciana or Spaghetti all’Carbonara. Amatriciana’s origin is from Amatrice, the province of Rieti in the Lazio region of Italy. Olive oil, or strutto (pork lard), can be used in this recipe, along with white wine. Although not traditional, you may see variations of this recipe with the use of garlic, onions and chili peppers.
Nearly 20 years ago, when I was in Rome, I tried both of these pasta dishes and was blown away. I came back to the U.S. and tried to make it in my kitchen with bacon. Then I tried pancetta — it was good, but it wasn’t exactly the same. This sauce is traditional and special. It is now becoming popular on pizzas throughout the U.S. Below is a recipe for my Pizza Amatriciana, one of my favorites.
- One 8½ to 13 ounce dough ball
- 6 to 7 slices of whole milk or part skim mozzarella
- ½ to 1 ounce grated Pecorino Romano (if available, try pecorino from Amatrice, Italy )
- Amatriciana Sauce (Recipe below)
- Shape and stretch your pizza into a 12- or 13-inch circle.
- Evenly layer your mozzarella slices, place your pizza in your oven and cook half way.
- Take your pizza out of your oven and spread your Amatriciana sauce over the top, leaving a ¼-inch border.
- Place your pizza back into your oven and finish the bake.
- Cut into desired slices, drizzle with EVOO and pecorino.
For the Amatriciana Sauce
- 4 ounces guanciale, cut randomly ¼ -inch in length (Can be slightly thick to thin. I prefer thick, large, fatty cubes)
- 5 ounces San Marzano DOP tomatoes or high-quality whole peeled tomatoes run through a food mill or firmly hand crushed
- ¼ ounce minced yellow or white onion (optional)
- Pinch of chopped garlic (optional)
- ⅛ to ¼-ounce minced Calabrian peppers, or a pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
- Pinch of black pepper
- Pinch of sea salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Cook the guanciale for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add your onions and garlic and continue to cook for approximately 1 more minute. I prefer my guanciale to be slightly crispy for this recipe.
- Carefully stir in tomatoes and add salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.
- Simmer for 15 minutes, continuously stirring.
- Set aside and cool down.