Bucatini all’Amatriciana

1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


  • Serves 4-6
  • 6 ounces guanciale, or pancetta, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil [
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 28-ounce can of peeled plum tomatoes, puréed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper – optional
  • 1 pound bucatini or thick spaghetti,
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

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  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the guanciale in the olive oil for a minute. Add the onions. When the onion and pancetta are golden, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper – and if using, crushed red pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced.
  3. Cook the bucatini until al dente (about 2 minutes less than the package directions), drain, and add it to the skillet with the sauce. Cook together for one minute.
  4. Serve with grated Pecorino.

Ed's Review

Would you ever eat lobster without wearing a bib? Only at your shirt’s peril. But lobster is not alone. Although I can think of few bowls of anything that I like more than bucatini all’amatriciana, I find no food to be more bib-worthy. I’ve never escaped without wearing some of the accompanying sauce on my shirt. Why? Because bucatini is one thick string, and nearly impossible to twirl onto a fork without a little splash. I have found hope, however, in a recent discovery: three foot long bucatini. After the shock and awe wore off, I realized that the incredible length allowed for easy twirling with minimal splashing. So get it if you can. If not, break out the bib and enjoy.

Bucatini all’amatriciana is a favorite in Rome, but it hails from the mountain town of Amatrice in northern Lazio. There, purists would not substitute pancetta for guanciale. Nor would they add onion, though they might add a little chili pepper. The sauce is most often served with bucatini, but spaghetti or rigatoni will do.

Buon Appetito,

Ed Garrubbo

6 thoughts on “Bucatini all’Amatriciana”

  1. That looks really, really good. I’ll have to check my local Italian market to see if they have three foot long bucatini. Thanks Ed!

  2. Sounds good – very similar to how I’ve made bucatini/spaghetti all’ amatriciana. I’ve just come across a recipe from Amatrice for spaghetti all’ amatriciana (home of the stuff) where they stress that you have to use guanciale instead of pancetta and they’re very fussy about the pecorino, saying that e.g. pecorino romano is too salty and strong and recommending local pecorino, a brand called Testa Nera (or equivalent). They also say no onion and the tomatoes should be of the Graziella or San Marzano tinned brand if you can’t get their home-grown ones fresh ( Mutti would probably be OK). I’m going to try it. Guanciale definitely has a more subtle and interesting taste than pancetta and that might be why they want to avoid the onion.

    • I know i’m not a real purist with Amatrciana sauce, but i like to add onion (as they would in Rome), and prefer the less fatty pancetta. And any pecorino would do for me. That said, i need to get to Amatrice!

  3. I am invariably impressed by how Italians manage to turn some onion, tomatoes and pancetta into bliss. Bucatini has long been my go-to dish when I crave extra comfort, heartiness and smile-making satisfaction. Grazie, Eduardo.

  4. Bucatini is the best. This recipe is awesome. With this pasta and you are correct about the necessity for wearing bibs. I highly recommend extra large 3 ply paper napkins tucked in collars or even disposable dental bibs to keep your shirts clean and stain free. If you use dental napkins you will need to purchase the metal clips to keep them in place.


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