Pasta Amatriciana

Pasta Amatriciana

Pasta amatriciana is a traditional Italian dish that features a sauce of guanciale (salt-cured pork jowl), tomato, pecorino romano and chiles. Some variations include onion and white wine. The final product tastes much more complex than the ingredient list would suggest: This simple pantry meal delivers deep flavors, as the bright, tangy tomato base balances the rich pork, and a mix of dried peppers adds layers of subtle heat. Guanciale can be found in Italian specialty shops or online, but pancetta is a good alternative. Bucatini is a thicker pasta with a hollow center that captures the thick sauce, but spaghetti delivers equally tasty results.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat olive oil over medium. Add guanciale and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. To the skillet, add tomatoes, black pepper and red-pepper flakes, and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally and smashing tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon, until tomatoes have broken down and sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes.
  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water, cook pasta according to package directions until just shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain.
  3. Step 3

    Add pasta, tomato sauce and ½ cup of pasta cooking water back to the large pasta pot and stir vigorously over medium-high heat until pasta is evenly coated in the sauce, about 1 minute. (Add more pasta water if sauce is dry.) Remove from heat, stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt.
  4. Step 4

    Divide pasta among bowls and garnish with more cheese and black pepper.