Everything about this sauce is assertive, but if you’re a fan of big, porky flavors, step right up. Use any leftover chile powder to add smooth, rounded warmth to any of your favorite dishes (one easy use: a sprinkle atop your morning avocado toast). And as for any leftover pomodoro, well, you know the drill (pizzas, pasta, etc.). The most important step in this recipe is incorporating the pork fat and the pomodoro, and my main advice is to be careful when adding the tomato to the oil. Letting the fat cool and tilting the pan will both reduce splattering, but you should still keep a watchful eye. Then, you’re going to want to get aggressive with stirring or agitating the pan to make sure the sauce comes together. Your reward will be the porkiest Amatriciana you’ve ever tasted.
Test Kitchen Notes
To read more about this sauce and the LA chef who championed it, read the full article. —The Editors
Chile Powder + Pomodoro Sauce
jar red chile flakes
cloves garlic, crushed
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
fresh marjoram leaves
guanciale (preferably La Quercia), thinly sliced and cut into panels
Grind the chile flakes in a coffee grinder until they become a fine powder. Set aside; use for purposes well beyond this recipe.
Make the pomodoro. In a large stainless-steel skillet over medium heat, coat the bottom with olive oil, then add the crushed garlic. Cook until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and season with Kosher salt and pepper.
Lower the heat slightly and allow to reduce for approximately 30 minutes, adding the fresh marjoram leaves a few minutes before the sauce finishes cooking. Run the pomodoro sauce through a food mill and set aside.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook the rigatoni until al dente (according to the instructions), reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta water.
Meanwhile, make the Amatriciana sauce: To a large, heavy-bottomed stainless steel skillet over medium heat, add the guanciale and a small drizzle of olive oil. Let the fat render out of the guanciale until it becomes slightly crisp, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Season with a large pinch of chile powder, then take the sauce off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
Return the skillet to low heat. Tilt the skillet away from you, eyeballing how much pork fat has rendered out of the guanciale. Add approximately the same amount of pomodoro sauce to the top of the skillet, letting it slide down towards the pork fat. (This will reduce the splattering.) Increase the heat to medium and stir rapidly or shake the pan to get the pomodoro and pork fat to incorporate, 5 minutes.
Add the rigatoni to the sauce along with the reserved pasta water and a large pinch of Pecorino Romano cheese and stir to coat.
Serve the pasta immediately with more freshly grated Pecorino Romano.