Fettucini Amatriciana

Fettuccini Amatriciana

The alternative title to this post is “I can’t believe it’s not Adelaide”.

It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon. You’ve slept in well past the time where it’s even remotely acceptable to have breakfast (and you don’t have any milk for cereal anyway). But now there’s is a rumbling in your stomach that’s sending all the dogs in the neighbourhood mental, expecting the next earthquake. A quick glance into the pantry shows pasta… this is a good sign. A check of the fridge shows half an italian sausage, some tomatoes, and most of an onion. You’re in business.

The sweetener in this scenario for me, is that I also found a small jar of olives. Made specially by local olive nut and wild food lover Kamran of Fiori Coffee. I won’t give away all the secrets, but suffice to say, there is a lot of food around if you’ll willing to look for it. These little gems have been marinaded in oil, and are delicious on their own, but also add substance and depth when added to pasta and other dishes. A wonderfully complex saltiness that really gives it a lift.

Now bearing in mind that I cannot guarantee that this dish can be legally called Amatriciana (or if I’m even spelling it right), here is my version of the ultimate quick and easy dish. It really doesn’t get much simpler than this.

Fettucini Amatriciana

  • 1 Italian sausage (mine was hot cacciatore)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Tomato passata, or lots of fresh tomatoes, or a can of crushed tomatoes
  • black olives
  • a splash of red wine
  • Fettucini

How I saved Saturday

Slice the sausage up into thin pieces on an angle, and the slice those slices into mini slices. Then slice the slices of slices … actually no, that’s enough. Chop up your onions and mince the garlic, then fry all of that in a bit of olive oil, and splash over the red wine at some point for tasty goodness. Add the tomatoes / passata to the pan and stir the mixture through well, letting it simmer away nicely and reduce a little.

While you’re doing all this, cook your pasta. I cook mine in as big a pot as I can find, with a little olive oil, and intermittently with a pinch of salt. I’m not sure whether that makes any difference, but it feels right… so I go with it.

Once the pasta is almost al dente, take it out and drain it. Then add a little more tomato passata to the pan, add the olives, stir them through well, and then toss the pasta through. Give it a minute or so for the pasta to absorb a little of the sauce and soften up a bit until it’s just the texture you prefer, then serve it up.

Suddenly Saturday is starting to look a whole lot more productive :)

16 thoughts on “Fettucini Amatriciana”

  1. Hi Matt

    Glad you like the olives. Those one are from West Perth, short walking distance from the
    roastery, ladder and bucket in hand.

    The best ones grow along the river just meters from the water. The salt spray almost semi cures them and they already loose a lot of bitterness. Don’t pass by the tiny ones they taste
    fantastic and are ready quicker.


  2. Cheers Kam, although I’m happy to leave the collection to you and feast on the bounty :) Are they black to start with on the tree ? or do they turn that way after you pick them ?

    Nugget… for a dog, you have an impeccable knowledge of cooking techniques. I’ll be sure to give your suggestions a run and see if there’s a difference.

  3. Kam: I don’t suppose you know what variety they are ?

    Aria: What’s better is that it tastes delicious, and takes about 10 minutes to make :) And the olive picker himself is directly above you in the comments :)

  4. Great post and photo as usual Matt.

    What fettucini are you using? If you aren’t already, try a ‘bronzato’ style which has the slightly coarse texture which helps to absorb the sauce. You can pick up some great pastas from Antonio’s in Mt Lawley (in the little arcade next to Exomod).

  5. Matt… No idea about the variety. I’m in two minds about finding out. I want to know because
    those ones have a really nutty/buttery taste. I don’t want to know because I like the mystery/luck element of finding the different flavours, shapes and sizes at random.

  6. Hey Brad, I was using a pretty unfancy Barilla at the time I believe. Though it was a ‘rigate’, so that helps to hold the sauce a little more. I seem to waver between buying el cheapo pasta, and making my own… But I’ll look that one up next time I’m gourmet shopping.

    Kam, that’s cool… I’m sure I could find out if I needed to :)

  7. Real amatriciana is usually done with Bucatini and has the following ingredients:
    guanciale (or pancetta if you can’t get guanciale)
    red wine
    Pecorino cheese (grated)
    olive oil
    onions (sauteed)
    The recipe hails from Amatrice, a town near Rome…
    so now you know!

  8. Thanks Monica, You are what every lazy blogger needs to keep himself in check. Although I was under no illusions of being authentic, it’s always good to know how the original is done. I’d love to get hold of some guanciale actually. mmmm cured pigs cheek.

  9. Leave out the olive oil in the pasta water. it doesn’t allow the sauce to stick to the pasta. if you think about this it makes sense. putting oil on something makes it deflective so it can’t absorb anything.

    Couple extra pinches of salt would do you well!

    1. Hey Matt,

      I never did find any guanciale actually, though I was just talking to someone last night at a Slow Food Perth meeting who makes it himself. Will let you know if I can source some.

      In the meantime, I’d probably see if Mondos, Torres, or one of the more old school Italian butchers do some…

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