From America's Test Kitchen Season 13: Great Italian Pasta Sauces
To create an authentic-tasting version of Pasta All’Amatriciana we needed an alternative to hard-to-find guanciale, or cured pork jowl. Humble salt pork, though an unlikely solution, provided the rich, clean meatiness we were after. To ensure tender bites of pork throughout, we first simmered it in water to gently cook it and render fat, a step that allowed the meat to quickly turn golden once the water evaporated. Finally, to ensure the grated Pecorino Romano didn’t clump in the hot sauce, we first mixed it with a little cooled rendered pork fat. Now the flavor of pork, tomato, chili flake, and Pecorino shine through in each bite.
To perfect this controversial Italian dish, we looked to a staple of the American larder.Watch the Video
Serves 4 to 6
Look for salt pork that is roughly 70 percent fat and 30 percent lean meat; leaner salt pork may not render enough fat. If it is difficult to slice, put the salt pork in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. Use high-quality imported Pecorino Romano—not the bland domestic cheese labeled “Romano.”