When it comes to pasta, Gino Angelini of Angelini Osteria in Los Angeles has the touch. All’ amatriciana means “in the style of Amatrice,” near Rome. And that means luscious Italian plum tomatoes cooked down to a sauce with a little onion, a little hot red pepper and, most importantly, guanciale, the cured pork cheek with a distinctive sweet pork flavor. Most cooks here substitute pancetta, but Angelini cures his own guanciale for this dish. Instead of the traditional bucatini, a fat spaghetti with a hole in the middle, Angelini prefers the squat, ridged tube pasta called bombolotti. This shape is tricky to cook perfectly al dente, but it offers what may be the perfect proportion of surface to volume for this particular sauce.
To finish off the dish, Angelini grates a spare amount of sharp pecorino Romano over the top. Parmesan just doesn’t give the amatriciana the same punch.
The genius of this dish is its simplicity, which also means you can’t compromise on ingredients. Buy good pasta, imported Italian plum tomatoes and, if you can get it, guanciale. If not, then substitute the best pancetta you can find.