Total Time: 20 minutes

Bucatini all'amatriciana

Bucatini all’amatriciana

Bucatini all’amatriciana so called from Amatrice, the town where it originated. Odd enough, Amatrice advertises herself as “the town of spaghetti all’Amatriciana”.

In Rome Amatriciana is absolutely associated with bucatini, thick hollow spaghetti.

When I was a kid, it was a challenge for me to eat them without slurping as I inhaled them and my mother would give me a bad look.

Guanciale goes in the amatriciana, if not available, bacon is the next best thing. At the very beginning, the sauce was without tomatoes and the dish was known as pasta alla gricia .

Also strutto, a sort of lard in a paste, is supposed to be used, not oil and of course local pecorino and tomatoes, but San Marzano tomatoes are accepted.

Another variation of the sauce is with onions garlic and even parsley, even white wine. Some great cooks favor additions, all things that  don’t exist in the original Amatriciana.

It seems hard to believe such an elementary, even crude, sauce can taste so good. Trying is believing.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana can be considered a quick pasta recipe. Start by putting the water to boil as sauce and pasta will be ready about the same time.


Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 pound bucatini
  • 5 ounces guanciale or bacon in small strips
  • 1 cayenne pepper chopped
  • 4 ounces dry white wine
  • 6 San Marzano tomatoes purée (1 and 1/2 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons grated pecorino
  • salt if needed



Put oil guanciale and cayenne pepper in a pan over moderate heat.

Cook until guanciale translucent, don’t brown.

Add tomatoes and cook 10-15 minutes.

Drain pasta. Mix with sauce at medium heat. Turn off heat, add the pecorino. Mix again. Serve


Note:  no need for oil as guanciale has its own fat. Use canned tomatoes, if fresh tomatoes not available. Handle cayenne pepper with gloves, or don’t touch your eyes for the rest of the day. Cut lengthwise and remove seeds. Or use hot pepper flakes in place.

More  Roman pasta recipes

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