Bucatini all'Amatriciana is an Italian pasta recipe that's so delicious using a few ingredients and comes together in under 30 minutes! This recipe gets it's spiciness from the dried chili (which we use our Calabrese) and the black pepper with the depth of flavor from the fatty meat.
It's a quick way to get dinner on the table. The time it takes for the pasta to cook, the sauce will be ready so let's make a delicious bucatini all'Amatriciana dinner!
Amatricana sauce gets it's name from a small town in Italy called Amatrice in Lazio Italy's central region. This dish has an amazing sauce which pulls it's flavors from the guanciale, tomatoes and pecorino romano.
Bucatini all'Amatriciana Ingredients
I always 'hope' that a good pasta dish will have tomato in it otherwise how would it be the sauce of sauces? Do you agree? A slow cooked, gently simmering tomato sauce is incomparable quite honestly.
The authenticity of this recipe lies in these 8 ingredients:
- guanciale (the use of pork cheek)
- bucatini - (long pasta with holes on both ends)
- white wine
- olive oil
- pecorino cheese
- black pepper
Today we are making bucatini all'amatriciana using pancetta (pork belly), spaghetti and a whole lot of love❤️
The authentic ingredients are not readily available to everyone and depending on where you live, they can be impossible to find. I know that the majority of you that read my blog (thank you!) find it challenging to find the authentic ingredients. If you don't have an Italian Gourmet Delicatessen or as known in Italy a 'Gastronomia' near you it can be difficult to find what the recipe calls for therefore I'm giving you alternatives;
What You Will Need
Fat Meat Type (choose one)
- Guanciale (pig cheek)
- Pancetta (cured pork belly)
Pasta (choose one)
- Bucatini (spaghetti with holes)
- Spaghetti, regular
- Penne or any other pasta
- Tomatoes, canned chopped or cherry
- Olive oil
- White wine
- Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
- Black Pepper (for serving)
- Dry chili flakes
In this recipe we used our Calabrese Spice the perfect Calabrian spice.
We make amatriciana with the meat we can find so it varies from guanciale, pancetta and bacon so the salt quantity will also depend. Using a pinch of salt is always better since you can't remove it but can always add it.
How To Make Bucatini all'Amatriciana
- We start with the pasta so get a pot of water on to boil. Remember that the sauce will cook for approximately 10 minutes so when you add the tomatoes that's about the time you will start cooking the pasta.
- Once boiling, add salt and cook the pasta. Work with 100 grams per person as the general rule of thumb. Personally we never use fine salt in pasta but rather a good quality coarse/rock salt. Save 1 cup of pasta water (always) because the pasta water is 'holy' when you need a sauce! You may or may not use it but always set some aside.
- Meanwhile fry the onion and add the bacon/pancetta or guanciale. Fry till fragrant and golden brown.
- Pour in the wine and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the tomato and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Keep stirring in-between this time slot and add the salt (if using any and just a pinch), fresh black pepper and chili. If you have our Smell and Taste Calabrese spice then do not add salt & pepper at this point, just add the Calabrese spice. At the end of cooking, taste and adjust to your preference.
- Add the cooked pasta. Use tongs to lift and carry into the sauce or drain the pasta whichever works and is convenient for you. If needed, add a couple of spoons of pasta water to make a sauce.
- Grate the cheese over, little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh black pepper.
What to remember with this recipe:
- Less salt, more pepper! There's salt in the pasta and salt in the meat so easy when adding and as always, taste as you go.
- If you are using guanciale you probably won't need oil because it create it's own oil from the fatty parts. But then you would have to start by adding it first into the pan.
- The alcohol in the wine will evaporate while cooking and you will be left with just the flavor. If you absolutely don't like wine you can also add plain water or a stock.
Variations For Bucatini all'Amatriciana
How such a simple recipe can evoke a full conversation over the dinner table is still beyond me but then again, my husband is Italian and full conversations about food are a norm. Some families make this recipe and swear by the ingredients and only those while others like me use what we have and make it work.
- with garlic or omit the garlic
- with onion or omit the onion
- omit both
Those are the variations. You can add the fat into a pan and fry it till golden, add white wine and tomato, season and add cooked pasta. That's the version we often use for amatriciana sauce.
Bucatini pasta as explained earlier is a type of spaghetti with holes on both ends. The idea is that the sauce goes through one end and out the other easily allowing the flavors to properly cling onto the pasta. Personally we prefer spaghetti for this recipe or rigatoni.
More Weeknight Pasta Dinners
- Pasta With Kale
- Pasta All'Arrabbiata (Spicy Pasta)
- Pasta Pronto, Quick Pasta
- Easy Orecchiette Pasta Recipe
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- 200 grams pancetta pork belly cubed
- 400 grams Canned chopped tomato 1 regular can size in South Africa
- 250 grams spaghetti
- 2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- ¼ teaspoon Calabrese spice or dried red chili flakes
- ½ cup pecorino cheese or parmesan
- back pepper for serving
- salt for the pasta and a pinch for the sauce depending how salty the meat is so taste first but a pinch should suffice.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt and cook the pasta. Please see Note 1 below.
- Place a pan over medium high heat and add the oil and onions. Cook the onions till soft.Add the pancetta cook for about 5 minutes to render some the fat and add the wine. Stir and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the tomatoes, pinch of salt (if using any, see Note 2 below), black pepper and/or our Smell & Taste Calabrese spice. Let the sauce cook for approximately 10 minutes on low to medium heat. In these 10 minutes the pasta should be cooking.
- Bring the cooked spaghetti into the sauce. You can use tongs to 'transfer' the pasta to the sauce with bits of the pasta water or you can drain it first then add. Either way, add the pasta and add a couple tablespoons of pasta water if needed to create a bit of a sauce.
- A drizzle of olive oil, grate pecorino cheese or parmesan over and add a sprinkle of fresh black pepper.