As promised, here is my favorite pasta dish of all time made with the lovely canned Italian plum tomatoes I brought back from my vacation. And boy did they live up to my expectations. All I had to season the sauce with was salt and the flavor was perfect. Usually I have to add brown sugar to most tomato sauces to off-set the bitterness of the tomato, but these were just right on their own! I first had this pasta at an incredible Italian restaurant in Cache Valley called Le Nonne. This is my version of it….almost exactly the same except I use bacon and add chopped rosemary to mine. Traditionally, Amatricana sauce is made with a smoked pancetta, but that can be hard to find and is usually on the expensive side. If you can find it and afford it, USE IT. If not, use a center cut bacon if you can. There will be less fat to trim and the slices will be thinner.
- 24 oz. Canned Plum Tomatoes
- 12 oz. Bacon, cut into small slices(trim what fat you can)
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- 1 Yellow Onion, small dice
- 1 1/2 T. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
- Liquid Smoke, to taste
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 12-16 oz. (dry weight) Rigatoni pasta, cooked *cook more or less, depending on how you like your pasta/sauce ratio.
Place the plum tomatoes(and the sauce that comes with them) in a food processor.
Puree until smooth and then set aside.
Place a large saucepan over medium/high heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until it starts to brown, stirring occasionally. This is a good time to start cooking your rigatoni, also.
When the bacon starts to brown, but is not yet fully cooked(see above), add the rosemary and the onion.
Adding the onion and rosemary at this stage will allow the bacon to become crisp and colorful while allowing the onion to soften and soak up that bacony flavor.
If the bacon isn’t cooked to this stage it will be mushy and fatty once it is cooked in the sauce
When the bacon is golden and the onions are soft, add the pureed tomatoes and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, add the salt and liquid smoke to taste. *I add the smoke flavoring because I find this sauce is best when it has a little help from the flavoring to add in what the bacon didn’t. It just needs that little extra ‘kick’.
The sauce is finished when the tomato sauce has reduced enough that you can see chunks of bacon at the top. Adjust seasonings.
Drain the cooked rigatoni and add it to the pot of sauce. Toss the pasta until the noodles are well coated and serve. *One of the best things about this sauce? It clings to every surface of the noodles. And that makes me happy. I love my sauce, and lots of it!
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