But despite the clear and undeniable Abruzzo origins influenced by Neapolitan roots, the Amatriciana after the unification of Italy was considered a classic of Roman cuisine.

Buongiorno amici:

It is natural to think of Roman cuisine and its delicacies when talking about Amatriciana. The city of Rome claims the authorship of the dish and has it entrusted in the minds of everyone.

However, the historical roots of this recipe are admittedly from Abruzzo (with a strong Neapolitan influence). Amatrice, the town from which the name derives, is located in the province of Rieti, testifying that the assignment of the dish to Lazio came only much later, precisely in 1927. Before that date, Angelo Forgione reveals to us. He belonged to the Abruzzo province of L’Aquila, which before 1860, given fatigue and disastrous for the southern cities, was part of the district of Città Ducale of the province of Abruzzo Further II of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

In these areas, the Abruzzese shepherds of Amatrice used to prepare a dish with a very high energy value to be eaten, especially in winter during the transhumance. This dish, called gricia initially, was prepared with pecorino cheese, bags of black pepper, bacon, and lard, easy to carry in bags and backpacks. But to change the cards on the table came a Neapolitan cook, a former Celestine friar from the Convent of San Pietro a Majella who, in his famous recipe book “The Gallant Cook,” began to mention a tomato sauce with which to season numerous dishes.

In 1770, the Viceroyalty of Peru gifted the tomato to Ferdinand VI, king of Naples.

It was precisely the years between the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century that marked the widespread custom of dressing pasta in tomato and not only with grated cheese, which had been the only condiment existing until then. And so it was that gricia became Amatriciana! With that touch of tomato desired by the Neapolitans, who have always been indisputable masters of culinary art.

But despite the clear and undeniable Abruzzo origins influenced by Neapolitan roots, the Amatriciana after the unification of Italy was considered a classic of Roman cuisine. Shepherds from Amatrice imported ingredients and flavors to the Roman countryside during the transhumance journeys.

In addition, the pasta shape used is proof of its Neapolitan imprint. The Amatriciana of the time was cooked with spaghetti and not with bucatini. As evidence of this, even the sign located at the beginning of the city of Amatrice proudly and categorically reads: Amatrice, city of spaghetti amatriciana.”

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[Amatriciana Image Attribution via Tumblr}

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Ingredients for 4 Servings

400g (14 oz) spaghetti

100g (3.5 oz) guanciale di Amatrice

75g (5 tbsp) pecorino Amatriciano, finely grated

350g (12.3 oz) San Marzano tomatoes, diced

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

50 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine

1 peperoncino (chili pepper)

salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Cut the guanciale into small cubes.

  2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil with the peperoncino. Then, once the oil is well heated, add the guanciale and sauté over high heat for a few minutes.

  3. Pour the wine into the pan, then scrape the bottom of the pan, releasing any bits that have stuck. Next, take the guanciale bits out of the pan and reserve them on the side.

  4. Add tomatoes to the same pan and cook them for a few minutes, adding salt to taste. Remove the peperoncino, which at this point should have given its flavor, and throw the guanciale bits back into the sauce. Cook until it thickens. Set aside.

  5. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in salted water until al dente and drain.

  6. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce and add the pecorino Amatriciano. Stir well and serve hot.

Thanks for reading. Eat safe! Ciao Chef W

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