Production area is the mountainous area in the municipalities of Amatrice (RI) and Campotosto (AQ).
The cheek of the pig with special care is detached from the head starting from the throat, trim until you get a classic triangular shape.
It is at this point put in salt for 4 or 5 days, depending on weather conditions.
After salting the cheek is washed to remove any salt residue and then drained, while still wet, is dusted with plenty of pepper and chili pepper, according to tradition, a hole on the apex of the triangle from which is passed twine and, finally, is hung on a wooden pole.
The cheek passes about a month in a 10 -15 ° C with a fireplace or brazier, which burns continuously and where oak gives an occasional smoke, which gives it a special flavor.
When the rind is perfectly dry and has assumed the classic brown color, it is exposed to air from the north where, after about 2 months, completes maturation. Cut must be very compact with white for the fat and red for the remainder. The flavor is intense, slightly spicy and must stand the smoke.
The cheek has a very close link with the territory of production, as always, with other products of pork, has been an integral part of supply pastors in the Monti della Laga who, having to spend 3 or 4 months in the mountains, were bringing food stuff of easy preserving and with good caloric capacity. The fabulous pecorino Amatrciano product and the cheek seasoned their frugal and substantial main course of pasta. Only in 1700, when the whole area was under the dominion of the Kingdom of Naples, these two simple ingredients met the tomato, thus, juicy and bright, a sauce for pasta whose fame has crossed borders, the Amatriciana was born.