Pasta all’Amatriciana is a classic Roman dish, featuring a robust, slightly spicy tomato sauce with cured pork jowl, known as guanciale (pronounced gwan-chee-all-eh).
I honestly accidentally ordered this item at a restaurant in Rome..
I was debating between the pasta all’Amatriciana and the eggplant parmesan, and had fully decided on the eggplant parm.
But when the waiter came to take my order… all’Amatriciana popped out of my mouth!!
But OMG, what a happy mistake it was.
The rigatoni came out piping hot, thickly coated in a spicy silky tomato sauce with nice chunky pieces of golden guanciale.
Basically, it was instantly my new favorite pasta.
And so simple, too!
A true testament to keeping things basic and letting the ingredients shine.
PS- If you’re ever in Rome, the restaurant I’m talking about is La Tavernaccia in the Trastavere region. It’s a little out of the way, but so so so worth it.
We also ordered the roasted suckling pig & the lardo & honey bruschetta, and were blown away by all of it!
And how adorable is it that they hand-write their menus each day 🙂 Thankfully, they spoke English & even had a hand written English version of the menu.
Plus, it’s nice to know you’re supporting a family run restaurant, rather than one of a million lackluster tourist traps.
So, here we are, nearly 9 months later, and I’ve just now gotten around to recreating that magical dish.
But this time, I went with bucatini, rather than rigatoni, because I wanted those twirlable, twistable noodles that are so fun to eat.
And of course, none of the stores near me sell guanciale (boooo), so I swapped in pancetta instead.
Honestly, it was still just as delicious!
All’Amatriciana is super simple to make.
It’s just pancetta, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, white wine, and tomatoes, topped with high quality grated romano cheese.
And please, don’t buy crappy cheap tomatoes for this dish. It won’t turn out well.
I used Cento brand crushed tomatoes, which I love, because they are not watery at all, which = tons of flavor in every bite and a wonderfully thick sauce.
This pasta is a loving act of patience for such a simple dish, but it still comes together in about an hour from start to finish.
So worth it!
Serve with Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pepitas and get ready for a FABULOUS meal.
Pasta all'Amatriciana with Pancetta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces diced pancetta
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 small bottle chardonnay (187 mL)
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (preferably Cento brand)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound dried bucatini pasta
- 1 cup grated Romano cheese, for serving
- 1/2 cup minced parsley, for serving
- Add the olive oil to a large nonstick saute pan, and warm over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes, until golden brown all over.
- Turn off the heat, and use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta from the pan and onto a plate to cool and crisp.
- Keep the drippings in the pan, and warm over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, for another 6 minutes or so, until the onions are tender and just starting to turn golden. If the garlic seems to be cooking too fast or on the verge of burning, turn down the heat as needed.
- When the onions are done, add the chardonnay and cook for two minutes to let some of the wine cook off.
- Add the pancetta and any accumulated juice back to the pan. Stir to combine with the wine and onion mixture.
- Next, add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning or sticking.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When there's about 10 minutes left on the pasta sauce, add the bucatini to the large pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions until just al dente, about 9 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water before draining, then drain the pasta.
- Add the pasta to to pan with the tomato sauce, and toss to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking water to thin the sauce a bit, and continue to toss the pasta to coat. Increase the heat to medium, and cook for a few more minutes, tossing the noodles in the sause, letting it thicken and nicely coat each noodle.
- Once the sauce is thick and evenly coating the pasta, turn off the heat and serve the pasta into bowls. Top generously with grated Romano cheese, freshly cracked salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.