Amatriciana or Matriciana? Which one came first? And more importantly, which one tastes better?
The famous Italian dish Amatriciana (also spelled Matriciana) has a long and interesting story behind the recipe and it’s creation. Here at The Roman Foodie we take food very seriously so decided to explore the origins of Amatriciana in more detail.
AMATRICE NEEDS YOUR HELP
The dish goes by two names as some say the origin is “Amatrice”, a small city in Abruzzo (a region in the center of Italy). This is where the Amatriciana was supposedly created and brought to Rome when, to escape from the cold winter of the Apennines, the shepherds of Amatrice came to spend a month in the warm capitol of Rome, selling some of their regional products. These products were typically Pecorino and Guanciale (cheek of the pork), which are the basic ingredients of the Amatriciana!
Even if Amatrice seems to be the city that first cooked up this delicious pasta dish, Romans have introduced some updates to the recipe that they call “Matriciana”. In some of this version you can find onions, a poor ingredient that was popular at that time, and instead of cooking the sauce in lard (which is used in Amatriciana), they use olive oil. They also switched the pasta from spaghetti to bucatini (spaghetti with a hole. Check the Pasta Infographic to know more about pasta shapes) and used Pecorino Romano cheese instead of the milder cheese of Amatrice.
So where does the name Matriciana come from? From the word Matrice of course! Which in Italian is the identification number that was tattooed on the right cheek of the pigs in the Amatrice region. Cheek is used in the recipe because it was the cheapest cut at the time, but still a juicy, sweet and fatty piece of meat.
So you can decide for yourself. Which is your favorite? Amatriciana or Matriciana? Either, way it’s delicious and you can find two different recipes below if you fancy cooking up some good homemade Italian food.
- 400 g Spaghetti
- 250 g Guanciale of Amatrice
- 500 g Casalino tomato (Plum tomato)
- 150 Pecorino of Amatrice
- One Tablespoon of lard
- 1 Red chili not too spicy
- 1 Handful of salt to pasta
- 400 g Bucatini
- 250 g Guanciale
- 500 casalino tomato
- 150 g Pecorino Romano
- 4 tablespoon of Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red chili not too spicy
- 1 handful of salt to pasta
- Soffritto: Put lard or oil in a pan so that it lays on the whole surface and let it warm on a high heat. After is warm add guanciale slices and chilli (turn them often with a wooden spoon).
- When the Guanciale turns golden color and crispy add the chopped tomatoes and let them boil together with the soffritto for about 10 minutes.
- Main wile you should make your pasta ready: Add water on a pot, let it boil then add an handful of salt. Immerse the Spaghetti or Bucatini (based on which recipe you are following). Let the Pasta boil not till is completely cooked up but right before.
- Drain the Pasta and mix it with the sauce while adding grated Pecorino. Let the pasta and the sauce cook a little more and keep on mixing the ingredients.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Buon Appetito da Gilles!
Did you have Amatriciana or Matriciana? Not yet?
Then have a look at our Local Food Tour in Rome! Eat like a local in Trastevere.