Amatriciana sauce made with pancetta, tomatoes and garlic served with al dente bucatini pasta is a classic Italian dish everyone will love.
Table of Contents
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Extra-virgin Olive oil.
- Pancetta. Guanciale is traditionally used but pancetta or bacon are good alternatives.
- Fresh garlic cloves.
- Chilli flakes / red pepper flakes.
- Chopped tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes are the very best canned tomatoes you can use for this recipe but use any good quality Italian tomatoes as substitute.
- Salt and black pepper.
- Bucatini. Any pasta shape will work, I prefer longer shapes for example spaghetti or linguine but short pasta like penne will be delicious too.
- Pecorino Romano cheese, to serve. A good substitute is Parmesan cheese.
What is Amatriciana sauce?
Amatriciana is a classic Italian sauce made with guanciale (cured pork cheek or pork jowl), tomatoes and chilli flakes. It’s very similar to Pasta Arrabbiata, except for the addition of meat. However, any cured pork product (like pancetta or bacon) can be used as guanciale isn’t always easy to find. Similarly, Parmesan can be substituted for Pecorino Romano.
How to make Amatriciana pasta
- Make the sauce: Add a few teaspoons of olive oil to a large pan or skillet set over medium-high heat then add the pancetta and allow to cook until crisp and golden. Use a slotted spoon and remove the pork from the pan and set aside. Cook the onion, garlic and chilli flakes in the pork fat until softened and fragrant. Stir the tomatoes into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Add the pancetta back into the tomato sauce and simmer for 5-7 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly.
- Assemble: Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and drain. Toss the pasta with the sauce and add a splash of cooking water. Serve the pasta with a generous amount of grated Pecorino cheese.
Can I make this ahead?
The sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Simply reheat the sauce in a large pan then toss with cooked pasta and a splash of pasta cooking water. Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The pasta dish “Amatriciana” is named after the town of Amatrice in Italy. Known as one of the most famous pasta dishes in Roman/Italian cuisine, it is registered as a traditional speciality by the Italian Government.
What makes bucatini so great is that it is a long pasta shape, similar to spaghetti but is slightly thicker and the tube-like shape is excellent for soaking up pasta sauce.
Both Carbonara and Amatriciana contains guanciale (cured pork) but carbonara is an egg-based pasta sauce which results in a creamy dish where Amatriciana replaces the egg with tomatoes.
No, you should never break pasta in half. Use a large pot and cook the pasta in plenty of salted, boiling water. Add the pasta to the water and allow to soften for a minute then using tongs, manipulate the pasta so that all of it is submerged in the water to allow proper cooking.
Classic pasta recipes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 200 g (7oz) pancetta
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 800 g (28oz) chopped tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 500 g (1lb) bucatini
- Pecorino Romano to serve
- Cook the pancetta over medium heat in a large pan until crisp and golden.
- Use a slotted spoon and remove the pork from the pan and set aside.
- Cook the onion, garlic and chilli flakes in the pork fat until softened and fragrant.
- Pour the tomatoes into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Add the pancetta back into the sauce and simmer for 5-7 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and drain.
- Toss the pasta with the sauce and add a splash of cooking water.
- Serve the pasta with a generous amount of grated Pecorino Romano.